Bright butterfly abstract image

Sunday Online Worship 24/05/2020

Welcome to the Sunday online worship 24/05/2020 from the Eastern Region of the Riverina Presbytery,Uniting Church in Australia. Multiple people from the Eastern Region are leading this pre-recorded service. Four YouTube videos are included to provide music.

Hymn: “All hail the power of Jesus’ name”

Let us join together, wherever we are, and sing our first hymn, ‘’All hail the power of Jesus’ name”. To help with the singing, the words of all hymns will display within the video. The hymn is sung by First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Welcome & call to worship 

The ‘Call to Worship’ and ‘Opening Prayers’, which are in the video below, are led by Rev. Keith Robinson. The words are underneath the video.

Welcome to the Sunday online worship 24/05/2020 from the Eastern Region of the Riverina Presbytery. Today is the final Sunday of the Easter season and just one week away from Pentecost. On this Sunday, much of the church will be celebrating the ascension of Jesus. Let us worship God.

We light the candle as a reminder that the light of Christ is always with us.

Light candle

Let us join together to praise God in the ‘Call to worship’, which is based on Psalm 47. 

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with cries of joy! 

Praise the Lord with your singing; for God is mighty and holy

God has ascended with shouts of triumph, and trumpet fanfare! God is exalted on high, and is forever our Lord.

Acknowledgement of country

As we begin our worship, let us also acknowledge the Wiradjuri people. They are the first inhabitants of our region and are part of God’s good creation. We honour them for their custodianship of the land, on which we live today.

Opening prayer 

Let us pray,

Almighty God, we come today to celebrate your greatness and glory, your sovereign power and eternal purpose, all expressed so wonderfully in Jesus Christ, our Lord, Risen and Ascended. 

We thank you for the wonder of the Ascension, that marvellous yet mysterious moment in the life of the Apostles which left them gazing towards the sky in confusion yet departing in joy. 

Because of his Ascension, Jesus is now set free to be Lord of all. He is with us always, able to reach even to the ends of the earth. [pause] 

Gracious God, forgive us for so often failing to grasp the wonder of your ways. Help us, despite our uncertainty, to hold firm to the great truth that the wonder of Christ Jesus goes far beyond anything we can ever imagine. and in that faith may we live each day to his glory and honour: Amen.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ intercedes for us. We are made whole, we are loved, and become new people through Christ. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Musical reflection

The musical reflection for today is, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours. The music was written & sung by John Michael Talbot, and is based on St. Theresa’s Prayer.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours”

Bible readings

Cheryl Carter from Junee Uniting Church leads us in the readings from Acts 1:6-14 & John 17:1-11.

Reflection

The sermon is on John 17:1-11 and the speaker is Rev. Keith Robinson. There is a video of the message in the window below. The text can also be downloaded as a printable pdf file.

Message on John 17:1-11

Prayers of the people

Go to the video below for the ‘Prayers of the people’, which are led by Jenny Good, from Junee Uniting Church. The words are underneath the video. The video also include the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ & a closing blessing by Keith.

Prayers of the people – Jenny Good of Junee Uniting Church

We bring to God our prayers for our world, our nation, our community and ourselves. 

Let us pray,

You are free, Lord, your Ascension has set you free: free from the constraints of human existence, outside the limitations of time and space; free to be here with us now, in our worship and fellowship; and free to be with us always; for in your freedom you have bound yourself to us with a promise: ‘I am with you always even to the very end of time.’

We pray for wisdom for ourselves, but particularly for our leaders, that as our society begins to open up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, that we will understand the most loving way forward. May we hear what your Spirit is telling us. [Brief silence]

We pray for those who are imprisoned or destitute, who are tortured, who are exiled, because they have fought, struggled and spoken out for the rights of other people. May your Spirit give them strength & sustain them. [Brief silence] 

We pray, Lord, for those who need to feel you close, who need the assurance of your love, & the encouragement of your Spirit. Be with them & comfort them. [Brief silence] 

We pray for those who are feeling fed up, who are in discomfort, who are afraid, because they are ill in body, mind or spirit or just want to get moving again. May your healing Spirit be upon them. [Brief silence] 

Be close to those people we know who are sick, suffering or grieving, that they may especially feel your calming presence and healing touch: and we bring before you now the concerns & people that are on our hearts …. [Longer Silence for private prayer]

Be with us all, Lord: in all our daily struggles as we seek to follow you. Be with us all, Lord: until that time when in your in your Kingdom of Love our joy will know no end. AMEN. 

Lord’s Prayer

We now say together the prayer that Jesus taught us:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and 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 forever. Amen.

Word of mission & blessing 

As people of faith we have gathered, in times of transition and change. In this in-between space, Jesus comes to us, praying for unity, love and our witness to the world.

This is God’s world, let us use our gifts to serve God in it.

And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with each of us and the people we meet on the way.

Hymn: “Christ is made the sure foundation”

The closing hymn, “Christ is made the sure foundation”, is sung at St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen, Scotland.

“Christ is made the sure foundation”

Postlude: “How can I keep from singing”

Today’s postlude is, “How can I keep from singing”. The choir at Cootamundra Uniting Church was going going to be singing this at the Easter Concert, but COVID-19 intervened. We can still enjoy the singing of this ‘virtual choir’ from New York City!

“How can I keep from singing”

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