Service for Sunday 27th March 2022, the fourth Sunday in Lent, conducted by Mr Ian Kerr

Servicing the Bald Hills and nearby Communities

Service for Sunday 27th March 2022, the fourth Sunday in Lent, conducted by Mr Ian Kerr

Gathering Words: –

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

He called a little child to him and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

So we welcome each other by saying  Peace be with you.

And we reply  And also with you


words and music Sydney Carter ATA 200

Psalm 32

Let’s read this passage together as we consider the blessings of God’s forgiveness and so we continue to praise him: 

I am blessed for my transgressions are forgiven,

I am blessed for the Lord does not count my sin against me

You forgave the guilt of my sin.

You are my hiding place, protect me from trouble,
Songs of deliverance surround me,

You instruct me and teach me in the way I should go;
You counsel me with your loving eye on me.
Your unfailing love surrounds me, and I put my trust in You.

I will rejoice in You and be glad,

I will sing praises to You for my heart belongs to you

Song 2             My hope is built on nothing less – CRY HOSANNA 82 

Words Edward Mote Music William B Bradbury

Let us pray together

Living God,
you do not save us from our mistakes,
but you release us to learn from them.
Thank you for being there
to welcome us back when we have lost our way,
to challenge our resentment when we have lost our grace,
to embrace our need
when we have exhausted our self-sufficiency.
We are so grateful.


  • Song 3 GOD IS FOR ME  

God is for me though I am little.

God is for me when I am dumb.

God is for me if I’m lazy,

or mischievous or glad or glum.

Think of it. Can you imagine?

Think of it. God is for me!

Think of it. Can you imagine?

God loves even you and me!

Religious Instruction at the Bald Hills State School

Once again, I have the privilege and opportunity to take Religious Instruction Classes at Bald Hills State School. (“the school across the road” my “Sunday School” classes of 80 children.)

This Bible narrative about Jesus blessing the children inspires me. (Mark 10:13-16)13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them.  But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples.  He said to them, “Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them!  For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.  15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

I will be taking 4 Year 2 classes each week on Wednesdays.  I am warmly welcomed and enjoy the time I spend in the classroom.  The children come from a variety of backgrounds, church families, families of other faiths, families with little or no faith and no experience of church at all.

Volunteers from Bald Hills Presbyterian, Bracken Ridge Baptist, Bridgeman Downs Baptist, and a couple of others and Bald Hills Uniting agree to teach from an agreed approved curriculum.

Godspace. Geoffrey has attended out meetings and our Congregation contributes about $300 to cover the cost of the teachers’ manual and children’s activity books, made free of charge to the children.  Thank you for your generosity.

My half hour lessons start off with some chit chat about school life, singing, a Bible story and maybe another interesting everyday story, followed by a prayer time, and finish off with workbook activities.

I carry my bags of sundry items, my big black book, my children’s Bible and sometimes my Dad’s Bible, and of course my baby guitar – there is no shortage of children who wish to help carry my load.

Let’s sing again  A favourite of the children  – the chorus says it all  – If God cares for the smallest of creatures then God really does love us and care for us.

There’s a Lord who cares

For the old black crow

The wombat, the gecko and the kangaroo

And one thing’s sure

We are worth much more

To the God who cares for people too!

  • Song 4 OLD BLACK CROW   (Sing to you tube clip)

Words and music Colin Buchanan Used by permission

Let us pray as we open God’s inspired word.

Creator God, you are the one who forms us into your image.

Creator God, you are the one who rebuilds and restores when things go wrong.

May we listen to your inspired word and may we truly understand your loving hope for each of us so that we may be truly alive.  Amen.

Scripture Readings

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 NIV

  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the World to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Matthew 18:1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Matthew 18:21,22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Luke 15:17- 24   From The Parable of the Prodigal Son

 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’  So they began to celebrate.”

These are God’s words for us today

Thank you Lord, for your inspiration


The challenge to Change

Throughout the Bible we read stories that show that God is calling on His people to make changes in their lives so that they may grow in grace.  In following His leadership and instructions they become part of God’s greater story.

Consider the following as a just few examples:

In faith Noah built the ark allowing the renewal of Creation.

Moses responded to God’s call to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

When Joshua and Caleb reported favourably after spying out the land

 “The land we explored is very good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will bring us into this land and give it to us.  This is a land flowing with milk and honey! Don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land.  We will devour them like bread.  They have no protection, and the Lord is with us.  So don’t be afraid of them.”

When God spoke to Isaiah

“Whom shall I send with my message to my wayward people; who will go for us?” Isaiah said, “Here am I.  Send me!”

            In accepting the challenge, they experienced change, for all decisions have consequences and we know the stories that followed.  They did not know what lay ahead but were willing to confidently trust the God.

Ancient examples to encourage us. Through Scripture we are challenged to change our ways and our attitudes which have consequences for our lives.

Later examples, include story of Corrie Ten Boom’s family as they made the decision to hide Jews in their home from the Nazis.  Despite the most tragic circumstances Corrie survived to tell her story of faith across the World.  In speaking of the need to forgive, Corrie came face to face with one of the soldiers who was a guard in the concentration camp at Ravensbruck.  The time had come to “put her money where her mouth” was.

Here are her words

It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavyset man in a grey overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands.  People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear.

It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favourite mental picture.  Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I liked to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown.

“When we confess our sins,” I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever.”

The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe.  There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947.  People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others.  One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.

It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the centre of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin.  Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbrück concentration camp where we were sent.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: “A fine message, fräulein!  How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand.  He would not remember me, of course–how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?

But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt.  It was the first time since my release that I had been face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

“You mentioned Ravensbrück in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard in there.”  No, he did not remember me.

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian.  I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well.  Fräulein”–again the hand came out–“will you forgive me?”

And I stood there–I whose sins had every day to be forgiven–and could not. Betsie had died in that place–could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it–I knew that.  The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us.  “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.”

I knew it not only as a commandment of God, but as a daily experience.  Since the end of the war I had had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality.

Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars.  Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids.  It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.  But forgiveness is not an emotion–I knew that too.  Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand.  I can do that much.  You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me.  And as I did, an incredible thing took place.  The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands.  And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried, “With all my heart!”

It was probably the most significant and powerful decision she had to make, but it was just a beginning in learning to trust God even more in difficult and hurtful situations.

These personal testimonies point us to our Saviour, and we have the opportunity to face difficult challenges and make decisions to trust God in difficult challenges.

I think the challenge to forgive is our greatest challenge.  It is most difficult unless we come as children and put our whole trust in the God who has paid the price and shown us the way.  Our Lord places in us a new heart and we become a new creation which bring joy into our lives and the lives of others.  The challenge of change becomes the joy of change.  We can rejoice, throw a celebratory party, like the shepherd who found the lost sheep, the woman who found the lost coin, and the father whose lost son returned to him. 

Let us come to God as children, seeking forgiveness, in the full knowledge that He will make the changes in each one of us as He calls “Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you not only rest but joy in your heart.”  And as Paul says “You are a new Creation” and not only that, you will gain the ability to forgive when it is hard to forgive.


We come to a time of reflection which will lead us into our prayers of confession and hear the words of the assurance of forgiveness. 

Jeremiah 18:1-4

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so, he made it again into another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” 

  • SONG 5      SIS 482 (Source 68) Change my heart O God 

Prayer of Confession

God of the prodigal and the elder sons,
we are sorry for the times we get lost in our world with no
thought for others.
Forgive us and help us to find our way home.
We are sorry when we use our resources selfishly.
Forgive us and help us to find our way home.
We are sorry when we doubt your love, and our pride prevents
us from admitting our mistakes.
Forgive us and help us to find our way home.
We are sorry when we resent your generosity towards others,
and judge their failures more harshly than our own.
Forgive us and help us to find our way home.
We are sorry when we hurt those we love and abuse their trust.
Forgive us and help us to find our way home.
In Jesus’ name we pray.

Assurance of forgiveness

Faithful God,
in a world that judges and blames,
you forgive and understand, and we too can forgive and understand

because you place your forgiving heart in us.
In a world that has no time for failure and mistakes,
you forgive and understand, and we too can forgive and understand

because you place your forgiving heart in us.
Thank you that your heart is so full of love,
it can never run out.

Thank you that you really do make the changes in our lives that we need.

  • Offertory .
  • Song 6 TIS 412 God sends us His Spirit
  • Dedication prayer  we  say together:

Lord and giver of every good thing.

We bring to you our lives and gifts for your Kingdom.

All for transformation through your grace and love

Made known in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen

Prayers of the People

Gracious God,
          We pray that your reconciling love may bring harmony to our World.
We pray for those caught up in conflicts between nations and states;
for all who live in fear of the bullet or the bomb.
May the leaders of the nations listen to each other,
and commit themselves to peace.
          We pray for those whose relationships have broken down.
May your love bring reconciliation, your peace dissolve bitterness,
and your grace disperse anger.
          We bring to you homes that are filled with conflict,
and pray for all who suffer from domestic violence and abuse.
           Bring healing to those who bear the scars
of the ways they have been treated,
and enable them to experience love.
           We pray for all who seek to mediate,
to bring reconciliation and peace,
that they may have wisdom, patience and compassion.

  Reconciling Christ, bless our efforts to bring about reconciliation.
Give us the strength to persevere without counting the hurts,
and to find within ourselves the capacity to keep on loving.

  Give us the grace to be able to stand in the middle of situations,
and to be a conduit for the deep listening
which can lead to healing and forgiveness.

  Help us to conduct ourselves with dignity,
giving and expecting respect, moving from prayer to action,
and from action back again into prayer.

  Grant that we may be so grounded in your love,
that our security is not threatened if we change our minds,
or begin to see a better way to act.

  Bless those who are called to reconcile on a large-scale –
politicians, world leaders, leaders of business,
and those who stand in the midst of bitter conflict.

  Reconciling Christ, bless us and bless all who engage
in the sacred work of envisioning new wholeness,
and bringing people and nations together. 

(Source: Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality Centre)

COCU22C.Lent4C.27March2022 |

God of hope,
we pray to you when hope is scarce
as our world convulses with the horror of war.
You alone know the extent of the crimes committed in Ukraine:
the people murdered, the homes and infrastructure destroyed,
the way violence comes as a calamity,
cutting a swath through the world.
Why is power concentrated in the hands of so few?
How can we make this war stop?
You alone know a way out of this quagmire of evil.
Help us find it.
Awaken those who dismiss this as someone else’s problem.
Give world leaders wisdom as they impose sanctions,
looking for diplomatic and economic ways to end this aggression.
Raise up resistance to war in Russia itself.
Protect the people of Ukraine,
who are reeling from the trauma of invasion.
Open the arms of neighbouring countries
to take in refugees.
In times like these,
fill us with resolve rather than hatred.
Help us believe that justice will prevail,
that crimes will be prosecuted,
that peace can be found
even in the roar and rubble of war.

[Copyright Carol Penner]

God of grace,
we see the damage inflicted on the world around us
and the resulting harm to our siblings
in climate-vulnerable places
and we mourn.

We lament the broken relationship
between humanity and the rest of creation.
Teach us the humility of the younger son,
so we can be honest with ourselves and one another
about our failure to care for the planet in the ways that we are called to.

We call to mind those times
when we, not just as individuals but as a society,
have failed to tread lightly on Your earth,
and we ask for your forgiveness.

Lord, we thank You
that You are a God of forgiveness,
who, as the Father welcomed his lost son home
with open arms
wants to restore our relationship with one another
and with the earth.

Even as we acknowledge our role in the overuse of resources
and a failure to live sustainably,
may we not be burdened by guilt and shame,
instead, free to work for climate justice,
To hope for a better future.

(From Young Christian Climate Network Week 4 episode of the Walk Humbly podcast)

27 March, 4th Sunday in Lent | The Church of Scotland

  O Lord, you love justice and you establish peace on earth.
We bring before you the disunity of today’s world;
the absurd violence, and the many wars,
which are breaking the courage of the peoples of the world;
human greed and injustice, which breed hatred and strife.

  Send your spirit and renew the face of the earth;
teach us to be compassionate towards the whole human family;
strengthen the will of all those
who fight for justice and for peace,
and give us that peace which the world cannot give.

  Guide the leaders of all nations,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.
Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth.

  Reconcile the differences which divide the Church,

which divide us from one another
and bring us back into the unity of love
which may bear some likeness to your divine nature.
Grant that we may be spiritually one,
both within ourselves and with one another,
through the grace, mercy and tenderness
of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Christian – World Healing Prayers

   We bring our prayers in the name of Christ,
through whom all are reconciled to you, our God.


 Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name, 
Your kingdom come, 
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.  

Give us this day our daily bread. 
Forgive us our sins,  
as we forgive those who sin against us. 
Save us in the time of trial  

And deliver us from evil. 
For the kingdom, 
the power and the glory are yours,  
now and for ever. 

  • Liz                   a message from the heart
  • SONG 7         SIS 414 The steadfast love of the Lord


Let us encourage each other as we leave to be a blessing this week.

May the love of God enfold us

May the wisdom of Christ enlighten us

May the fire of the Spirit inflame us

And may the blessing of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Rest upon us and abide with us, now and evermore.  Amen

  • SONG 8   We are marching in the light of God  (play as the congregation leaves)