Welcome to the online service 16/08/2020 for the Eastern Region of the Riverina Presbytery, Uniting Church in Australia. Today’s worship is based on the Saltbush service for today as Keith is currently on leave. The message is by Rev. Tim Jensen and the prayers are the same as those included in the Saltbush service. Some additional music has been included. A PDF of the service can also be downloaded via this link.

Opening hymn: “Jesus calls us here to meet him”

The opening hymn is, “Jesus calls us here to meet him”, sung by UCPC Upper Clyde Parish Church.

Welcome & Opening Prayer

God is neither shocked or disturbed by our imperfections. God, who is already familiar with our ways, has called us to this place.  Let us pray …

Eternal Creator, you embrace our lives with your grace and love. You call us to be in relationship with you through Christ and lead us in the power of your Spirit. Continue to grow us in wisdom, compassion and love, so that we may be a reflection of you in our daily living. Holy Presence our faith is found in you. In Christ, Amen. 

Music for Reflection 

The musical reflection is “Search me O God” by Leigh Newton (Used with permission). The words are below the video. The melody is based on a beautiful theme by Beethoven, from one of his piano sonatas.

Verse 1. Search me O God and know my anxious heart. Behind me and before me, you lay your hand upon me. 
Verse 2. Where might I hide to flee you tender touch? No darkness or the ocean hides me from your devotion.
Chorus: You know my every need, you know my thoughts, my joy, my crying, God your wisdom ways. Surround me at my birth, my dying. 

Verse 3. Woven by you deep in my mother’s womb. That moment of conception you knew my life’s direction. 
Verse 4. Search me, O God and purify my ways. O teach me love surpassing, guide me in all that’s lasting.
Chorus: You know my every need, you know my thoughts, my joy, my crying, God your wisdom ways. Surround me at my birth, my dying. 

Repeat verse 1.

Passing the Peace 

If you are watching this with others you may like to pass the peace with one another .

The peace of the Lord be with you. And also with you. You are invited to turn to those around you and offer them a word of greeting and peace. 

The Word around the Bush 

Today’s reading is from Matthew 15:21-28, and it tells the story of Jesus meeting a Canaanite woman. You are invited to read this, preferably out aloud.

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. 

The Message 

The message is from Tim Jensen, our Scattered Community Minister for today.

Sermon by Tim Jensen

Questions for conversation

  1. I wonder what you heard and thought from the Word today?
  2. I wonder what you heard in the Word for our church? 
  3. What one action can you or your church take in response to the Word today? 

Silence in Two Ways 

You may like to spend some time in silence sitting still (suggested 5 minutes). Close your eyes lightly. Sit relaxed but alert. 

●You may like to say the prayer phrase “Mar-an-ath- a” (which means come Lord). Say this as four syllables. Do not try to think or imagine anything. If thoughts or distractions come simply return to saying the word. 

●Or you may like “sitting with God” — a silent time in which we focus all our mind, heart and soul on the presence of God without trying to create it. Simply be still and open to God. 

Prayers for Others 

Let us pray …. Eternal Presence, Creator God, dwell deeply within us that we would know your truth, your love, your hope, your reign in our lives; that our own lives reflect you and your hopes; refreshing relationships, communities and your creation. As you dwell within us Holy Presence may we know the sacred life you call us to, that we are made in your image and we acknowledge your image in all we meet. At this time we bring you our prayers.

O Christ we open ourselves in prayer for:

[Silence for personal prayer or invite others to open prayer in between each]

Your creation …Silence

For others we have heard about throughout our world …Silence

For other people we know and are close to …Silence

For our church and our wider community …Silence

For ourselves …Silence 

Closing hymn: “And can it be”

The closing hymn is, “And can it be”, from Songs of Praise broadcast Sun 21 Oct 2007.. 

Closing Responses & Blessing 

Let us go in faith as images of the Living God! And may God, the eternal loving presence walk alongside us. God in Christ be our constant guide, and the Holy Spirit nurture, encourage and lead us to truth. Bless us and the people we meet along the way, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen 


Today’s postlude is, “Faith, hope and love”, sung by the Bristol Youth Choir.

Unless otherwise indicated liturgies © 2020 Saltbush Community Ministers 

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Eastern Riverina Uniting Churches