Seeing in the Light

22 Mar 2020 by Heather S and John M in: Online Services

Welcome to this online service from the Engadine Uniting Church. We pray you will be blessed as you follow the words of this service. If you want to speak to the Minister, please contact Rev Paul Bartlett on 0439 458 204.

(The words in bold are normally read by the congregation while the non-bold words are read by the service leader.)

Scroll down past the service headings (which directly link to that element of the service) to see the full service. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Lighting the Christ candle

Hymn: Gather Us In

Call to Worship

Scripture Readings

Hymn: Lord Your Mighty Word

Affirmation of Faith

Sermon

Hymn: Be thou my vision

Prayers of the People  

Blessing and Sending Out and final hymn

For Further reflection:

 

 

 COMPLETE SERVICE

 

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Dharawal people,
the first inhabitants of this place.
We honour them for their care of the land
part of God’s good creation
land on which we gather today.
We pay our respects to their elders, past and present.
God, you granted humanity
the gift of relationship with your creation.
You call us to respond with respect,
caring for the well-being of all you have made.
We give thanks for those who have heeded your call.

 

Lighting the Christ candle

(A candle is normally lit to remind the congregation that Christ is in our midst and is the light of the world)

In opening the eyes of the person born blind,
Jesus shows that he has power to free people
from all forms of darkness in their lives.

God, you are the light.
You do not see as humans see
because you look into the heart:
Show us compassion, O God.

Christ, you are the light.
Anyone who follows you will have the light of life:
Show us compassion, O Christ.

God, you are the light.
You give sight to the blind both for those who cannot see
and those who will not see:
Show us compassion, O God.

Eternal and near at hand. 
Already and not yet.

God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

Holy Trinity, full of light and movement and mystery, 
lighten the darkness of our world,
move in our hearts,
draw us deeper into the mystery of your being. 
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

Hymn: Gather Us In

(You may view a recording of the hymn here)

Here in this place new light is streaming
Now is the darkness vanished away
See in this space our fears and our dreamings
Brought here to you in the light of this day

Gather us in, the lost and forsaken
Gather us in, the blind and the lame
Call to us now and we shall awaken
We shall arise at the sound of our name

We are the young, our lives are a mystery
We are the old who yearn for your face
We have been sung throughout all of history
Called to be light to the whole human race

Gather us in, the rich and the haughty
Gather us in, the proud and the strong
Give us a heart so meek and so lowly
Give us the courage to enter the song

Not in the dark of buildings confining
Not in some heaven light years away
But here in this place the new light is shining
Now is the kingdom, now is the day

Gather us in and hold us forever
Gather us in and make us your own
Gather us in, all peoples together
Fire of love in our flesh and our bones

 

Call to Worship

 Almighty God,

unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Some people have excellent eyesight but do not see further than their noses...
Some have sight yet choose to see only a fragment of the truth and love of Christ.
And some there are who have no physical sight yet who see brilliantly.
The light of Christ Jesus be with you all.

And also with you.

One thing we know for sure,

Once we were blind but now we can see.

Discerner of hearts,
you look beneath our outward appearance
and see your image in each of us.
Banish in us the blindness
that prevents us from recognizing truth,
so we may see the world through your eyes
and with the compassion of Jesus Christ who redeems us. Amen.

 

Confession

Let us pray.

(Silence for personal confession.)


Let us ask our God’s forgiveness for being blind to Love
and failing to ask healing for our own blindness.

Forgive in us what has gone wrong.
Repair in us what is wasted.
Reveal in us what is good.

God of glory and God of grace, bring us to our senses.
If that means shining your light fiercely
until our inner eyes hurt,
and our ugly ways stand exposed
then so be it.

We do not look for an easy way
but the hard way of truth and healing.
Slowly but surely we come to you.
In your arms may we find the grace to let go,
to accept your forgiveness and receive restoration.

This we pray

in the name of Christ Jesus our Saviour.

Amen

 

Forgiveness and Assurance

Almighty God,
you show to those who are in error the light of your truth,
that they may return to the way of righteousness:

In the name of Jesus, we step free for the shadowy past and turn to the bright future with keen eyes and optimistic hearts. We are a forgiven people.

Thanks be to God.

The Lord is my light,
my light and salvation;
in God I trust, in God I trust
.

Through the cross of Christ,
God have mercy on you,
pardon you and set you free.
Now you are light in Christ.
Live as children of the light.
Light produces every kind of goodness,
justice and truth.
Thanks be to God

 

Scripture Readings

Ephesians 5:8-14 (NIV)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

John 9:1-41  (NIV)

Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Through these words we hear God speak

May His word enable us to see the world clearly

 

Hymn: Lord Your Mighty Word

(You may view a recording of the hymn here)

  1. You whose almighty word
    chaos and darkness heard
    and took their flight,
    hear us, we humbly pray,
    and where the gospel day
    sheds not its glorious ray
    Let There Be Light!
  2. Saviour who came to bring
    on your redeeming wing
    healing and sight,
    health to the sick in mind,
    sight to the inly blind,
    now to all humankind
    Let There Be Light!
  3. Spirit of truth and love,
    lifegiving, holy Dove,
    speed forth thy flight;
    move o'er the waters' face,
    bearing the lamp of grace,
    and in earth's darkest place
    Let There Be Light!

  4. Blessed and holy Three,
    glorious Trinity,
    Wisdom, Love, Might,
    boundless as ocean's tide
    rolling in fullest pride,
    through the world, far and wide,
    Let There Be Light!

 

Affirmation of Faith

We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.

Thanks be to God.

(from The United Church of Canada, General Council 1968)

 

Sermon: John McKinnon

John says, “By Tuesday I had already prepared most of my sermon for Sunday based on the passage from John 9:1-41. While I had referenced the virus, it was not my major focus. On Friday I came across a sermon online that not only said most of what I wanted to say, only more articulately, but it is also framed around our current crisis. While written for North Americans, it also speaks powerfully to our context. So this week we are outsourcing our sermon to Debie Thomas from San Francisco. I invite you to read her reflections here.

At this time, you may reflect on this selection of artwork from the Vanderbilt Library, curated especially for this Fourth Sunday in Lent.

Hymn: Be thou my vision

(You may view a recording of the hymn here)

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heav'n's Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate'er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

 

Prayers of the People       

Be our vision, Lord of our minds! Enable us to see things as you see them:

To look upon both neighbours and enemies with compassion.
To recognise in the beggar, stranger, hungry and homeless the face of the Child of God.
To look in the mirror and see a much-loved disciple called by Christ to an abundant life.

Please, healing Christ, anoint our eyes with your salve, that we may see better than ever before and follow your way with anticipation and joy. In your name, and to your praise, we pray.

Amen

Almighty God,
You see this world in crisis.
You understand everything about it.
I am coming to you seeking your help.
Help us to leave our worries at the foot of your cross.
Give us new ways of looking at this situation.
Give us solutions we haven't thought of.
Give us insights into the changes that need to take place.
Show us how to get from where we are to where we need to be.
Help us to see this crisis from the view of a nation working together - not from the view of opposing people fighting each other.
Lord, you are an amazing God, and we need your amazing help.
I will draw closer to you, Lord, during this crisis.
I will draw closer to my neighbour and my family.
Give me wisdom and discernment.
Help me to make right choices.

Amen

 

Blessing and Sending Out

Nothing is visible unless it is exposed to light,

 

Once we were in the darkness
but now we are in the light of Christ.

 Go now and live as children of the light.
Seek what is pleasing to God.
Expose the unfruitful works of darkness,
and commit yourselves to the works of God who sends you.

 We are numbered among those whose eyes have been touched with the salve of Jesus Christ.

 Amen! Once we were blind but now we can see!

See clearly and walk gently wherever you go this week.

Look gladly on those who encourage, and deal patiently on those who irritate.

See light where others see gloom, and hope where many see defeat.

Look upon weak souls with mercy and face the tough characters without fear.

 

Travel calmly with the confidence of those who have caught glimpses of a divine glory,

In and through Christ Jesus our Saviour.

And the blessing of God,
Creator, Redeemer, and Giver of Life,
go with us, today and always. AMEN

 

HYMN:   Longing for light, we wait in darkness (Christ be our light)

(You may view a recording of the hymn here)

Verse 1

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
Light for the world to see.

Chorus

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Verse 2

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Chorus

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Verse 3

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
Shared until all are fed.

Chorus

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Verse 4

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
Walls made of living stone.

Chorus

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Verse 5

Many the gifts, many the people,
Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
Making your kingdom come.

Chorus

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

 

For Further reflection:

Sonnet On His Blindness

by John Milton (1608-1674)

When I consider how my light is spent
    Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one talent, which is death to hide,
    Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
    My true account, lest he returning chide:
    “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
    I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
    Either man’s work, or his own gifts. Who best
    Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o’er land and ocean without rest.
    They also serve who only stand and wait.”

 

May God bless you during this time of uncertainty and social distancing. If you need to contact the Minister, please send a message via the link here and the minister will contact you.