Service for Sunday 7th March 2021 – Geoffrey Webber

Servicing the Bald Hills and nearby Communities

Service for Sunday 7th March 2021 – Geoffrey Webber

Call to Worship  (Psalm 19: 1 to 4. 6 to 9, 11 and 14): 

Leader: “The heavens clearly reveal the glory of God.

All: The skies plainly show His handiwork.

Leader: Each day announces it to the following day;

All: Each night repeats it to the next.

Leader: There is no language nor are there words,

All: There is no sound of any voice.

Leader: Yet the knowledge of the Creation’s divine ordering is proclaimed throughout the World,

All: It is heard from one end of the Earth to the other.

Leader: God has made a home in the sky for the Sun;

All: It starts at one end of the sky

Leader: And goes across to the other.

All: Nothing can hide from its heat.

Leader: The Law of the Lord is perfect,

All: And refreshes the soul.

Leader: The testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,

All: Giving wisdom to those who lack it.

Leader: The precepts of the Lord are right,

All: Giving joy to the heart.

Leader: Reverence for the Lord is good

All: And will endure forever.

Leader: The judgements of the Lord are just

All: And are always fair.

Leader: It is these that gives God’s People warning,

All: I am rewarded for obeying them.

Leader: May all the words of my mouth and all the thoughts of my heart be acceptable to you O Lord,

All: My refuge and my redeemer.

[New English Bible, New International Version, Today’s English Version, and Revised Standard Version]

Leader: Our understanding about God comes, firstly, by inference, from observing the visible Cosmos, and, secondly, by instruction, from studying and observing God’s written Word.  These are described as the material and the moral realms.  Without the physical light of the Sun and the spiritual light of the divine commandments, all life on Earth would perish.  (L McCaw and A Motyer in Psalms in New Bible Commentary p462) 

  Our response to such an understanding is to acknowledge our inadequacies before God, to be conscious of the divine grace that not only forgives sin but preserves the individual from sinning, by seeking to fulfill the Will of God through word and deed, and, by seeking our heart and soul to be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit.  (A Weiser in Psalms p203 7 204) 

Prayer of Praise

 (Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People Year B p78, Opening Prayers p24, A Year of Prayer p52 -54, Invocations & Benedictions p71) 

Leader: Almighty God, we gather together as your People, knowing that you are above us, but not beyond us.  Your glory is displayed for all the World to see, from one end of the heavens to the other.  The order and pattern in your Creation clearly reveal your wisdom and your power.  The rainbow is our sign of your unending care for your Creation and of your unending concern for Humanity.

  Your Laws and judgements reveal to us your desire for relationships to be based on fairness and justice.  They reveal to us those things that are pure and clean and true.  They enlighten us and guide us as to your Will for how Nations and people are to live side-by-side so as to bring about prosperity and peace.  They reveal to us the folly of Human wisdom, a wisdom that is not based on your standards and precepts.

  Help us not to be lured by the transitory pleasures of Earthly riches and compliments, but, instead, renew our spirits, calm our hearts and our minds, and remake us for wholeness and holiness, for only in that way can we truly be your beacons of light in a darkened and darkening World.  To your glory and praise.  Amen.

Hymn: “The heavens declare thy glory Lord” AHB330 MHB802

Prayer of Confession 

(Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People Year B p77, Invocation and Benedictions p71) 

Leader: Loving God, we look at ourselves and acknowledge that we have wilfully broken your commandments by the things we do and say.

All: In your mercy, forgive our sins.

Leader: Loving God, we look at ourselves and discover that often we have unknowingly failed to follow your Will for our lives.

All: In your mercy, forgive our sins.

Leader: Loving God, we compromise the simplicity of your Good News by insisting on the need for rituals in our worship or by stressing the need also to be and to do what is socially acceptable.

All: In your mercy, forgive our sins.

Leader: Loving God, we pretend that we have the abilities and the knowledge to bring about change in our lives.  We ignore the need for our heart and soul to be cleansed through your Holy Spirit.

All: In your mercy, forgive our sins.

Leader: Loving God, we minimise the guilt of our sins by pointing to our good works or by appealing to our good nature. 

All: In your mercy, forgive our sins.

Leader: Loving God, Jesus cleansed the Temple by driving out the animal dealers and the money changers.  Please cleanse from us anything that hinders or inhibits the purposes of worshipping you and of serving others. 

All: Transform us through your love and power.  May all that we think and do and say support the work of sharing the Good News of your grace, the forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation with you.  Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness  (from Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People Year B p76) 

Leader: We are called to a faith in Jesus Christ, who died on a cross and who God raised from the dead on the third day.  God showed wisdom wiser than the World’s and demonstrated power stronger than the World’s.  We have the assurance that, having confessed our sins before God, He is able to forgive us and to make us clean in His sight.

Response: Thanks be to God.

‘Children’s’ Talk

Screen 1

Respiratory Outbreak – John Wesley Gardens

Monday 22nd February 2021 12:45 PM

Good Afternoon

I am writing to advise that we have a small number of cases of Respiratory Illness (Influenza Like Illness – ILI) in our Maleny Community and an Outbreak has been declared.

The Maleny Community has gone into lockdown this morning and the team is putting everything in place that is required to manage same.

We strongly recommend that you consider not visiting the Maleny community until further notice where absolutely possible.

Manager Residential Aged Care Services

John Wesley Gardens

  On Monday of the week before last I received this email from where my Dad is living, advising of an influenza illness among some of the residents in Dad’s community.  As a result they had gone into “lockdown”, meaning that I could not visit Dad unless it was under exceptional circumstances.  There was, in effect, a ‘boundary’ that I could not cross, that is, the locked front door.

Screen 2

Exodus 19: 12

“Mark a boundary around the mountain that the people must not cross”.

  When the People of Israel were camped around Mt Sinai, God instructed Moses that the people could not access the mountain because it was a ‘sacred place’, and therefore that he had to “Mark a boundary around the mountain that the people must not cross”.

Screen 3

John 2: 15 and 16

“Jesus drove all the animals out of the Temple, he overturned the tables of the moneychangers, and he ordered the men who were selling the pigeons, “Take them out of here.  Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

  When Jesus visited the Temple after his journey to Jerusalem, his anger was roused because the Temple traders and the moneychangers had ‘crossed a boundary’.  By undertaking their business within the Temple confines, they were disregarding what was ‘sacred’.  Their activities were degrading what was ‘sacred’.  To restore the Temple as a ‘sacred place’, Jesus caste them and their activities outside of the Temple complex.

Screen 4

What boundaries does God set for us not to cross?

  Do we regard ourselves as God’s ‘sacred place’?  Do we consider that our every word, and our every thought, and our every action are to reflect our special relationship with God?  For that is why the writer of Psalm 19 states, as we read in verse 14, “May all the words of my mouth and all the thoughts of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord”.  What boundaries does God set for us not to cross, not to stop us from leading fulfilling lives, not to stop us from expressing ourselves as individuals with intelligence and personalities, but to prevent us from degrading that which God holds as ‘sacred’ to Himself?

Prayer of illumination

All: Holy God, through your Holy Spirit, instruct us that we might rightly understand the Word of Truth, and find ourselves as People who reflect the Living Word, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bible Readings

Exodus 19:

3b  The Lord called to Moses and told him to say to the People of Israel, the descendants of Jacob,  5  ”Now, if you will obey me and keep my Covenant, you will be my treasured possession.  The whole Earth is mine, but you will be my chosen People,  6  a People dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests.”

Exodus 20:

1  God spoke and these were His words,  2  ” I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt where you were slaves. 

3  Worship no god but me

4  Do not make for yourselves images of anything in Heaven or on Earth or in the water under the Earth.  5  Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals.  I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation.  6  But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my Laws.

7  Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I the Lord will punish anyone who misuses my name.

8  Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.  9  You have six days in which to do your work,  10  but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.  On that day no one is to work; neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your Country.  11  In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested.  That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.

12  Respect your father and your mother, so that you will live a long time in the land that I am giving you.

13  Do not commit murder.

14  Do not commit adultery.

15  Do not steal.

16  Do not accuse anyone falsely.

17  Do not desire another person’s house; do not desire their spouse, their slaves, their cattle, their donkeys, or anything else that they own.

[Today’s English Version, New English Bible]

1 Corinthians 1:

18  For the message about Christ’s death on the cross is sheer folly to those who are being lost, but for us who are being saved it is God’s power.  19  The Scripture says,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the cleverness of the scholars.”

20  So then, where does that leave the wise, or the scholars, or the skilful debaters of this World?  God has shown that this World’s wisdom is foolishness.

21  For God, in His wisdom, made it impossible for people to know Him by means of their own wisdom.  Instead, by means of the so called folly of the Gospel we preach, God chose to save those who believe.  22  Jews want miracles for proof, and Greeks look for wisdom.  23  As for us, we proclaim the crucified Christ, a message that is an offensive stumbling block to the Jews, and nonsense to Gentiles;  24  but for those whom God has called, Jews and Gentiles alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  25  For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than Human wisdom, and what appears to be God’s weakness is stronger than Human strength.

[Today’s English Version, New English Bible, New International Version]

Reader: This is the Word of God.

All: Praise to you Almighty God.

John 2:

13  It was almost time for the Jewish Passover Festival, so Jesus and his Disciples went from Capernaum to Jerusalem.  14  There, in the Temple, Jesus found men selling cattle and sheep and pigeons, and also the moneychangers at their tables.  15  So he made a whip from cords and drove all of the men selling animals out of the Temple, along with their sheep and the cattle; he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and scattered their coins.  16  Then he turned to the men who sold the pigeons.  “Take these out of here.” he ordered, “How dare you turn my Father’s House into a marketplace.”  17  His Disciples recalled the words of Scripture:

“My devotion to your House, O God, burns like a fire in me.”  [Psalm 69: 9] 

18  The Jewish authorities challenged Jesus, saying “What miraculous sign can you show to us that can prove that you have the authority to do what you have done?”  19  Jesus answered, “Tear down this Temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  20  “How are you going to build it again in three days?” they asked him, “It has taken 46 years to build this Temple.”

21  But the Temple he was speaking of was his body.  22  After his resurrection, his Disciples recalled what he had said, and they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had said.

[Today’s English Version, New English Bible, New International Version]

Reader: This is the Gospel of our Lord.

All: Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Hymn: “He lifted me” Alexander’s Hymn No. 3 song number 21 – 4 verses and choruses.

Verse 1 of 4

In loving kindness Jesus came,

My soul in mercy to reclaim,

And from the depths of sin and shame

Through grace He lifted me.


From sinking sand He lifted me;

With tender hand He lifted me;

From shades of night to plains of light,

O praise His name, He lifted me!

Verse 2 of 4

He called me long before I heard,

Before my sinful heart was stirred;

But when I took him at His word,

Forgiven He lifted me.


From sinking sand He lifted me;

With tender hand He lifted me;

From shades of night to plains of light,

O praise His name, He lifted me!

Verse 3 of 4

His brow was pierced by many a thorn,

His hands by cruel nails were torn,

When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,

In love He lifted me.


From sinking sand He lifted me;

With tender hand He lifted me;

From shades of night to plains of light,

O praise His name, He lifted me!

Verse 4 of 4

Now on a higher plane I dwell,

And with my soul I know ‘tis well;

Yet how or why I cannot tell,

He should have lifted me.


From sinking sand He lifted me;

With tender hand He lifted me;

From shades of night to plains of light,

O praise His name, He lifted me!

Charles Gabriel


Screen 1

The Gulf of Aqaba

Saturday, 30th June 2018, we were on our flight from Dubai to Rome, on our way to board our ship for a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea.  We looked out of the window to see that we were over the Gulf of Aqaba, in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia is the land to the lower right.  Sinai Peninsula (Egypt) is the land to the middle left.  Jordan is the land to the right at the head of the Gulf.  Israel is the land to the left at the head of the Gulf.

Screen 2

East coast of Sinai Peninsula

  The east coast of the Sinai Peninsula.  It was through this type of country that the People of Israel travelled on their journeyed northwards from Mount Sinai towards the ‘promised land’ of Canaan.

Screen 3

Arid interior of Sinai Peninsula

  We were flying over the centre of the Sinai Peninsula.  Israel is located on the blurry horizon to the far north.  The dry beds of rivers and creeks are very visible.  Note the uniform tan and brown of the countryside, and, most noticeably, the minimal amount of green vegetation.

Screen 4

Arid interior of Sinai Peninsula

  We were flying too far to the north of where Mount Sinai is considered to be located, at the southern end of the peninsula.  However, these photographs give us an indication of the type of arid county through which the People of Israel travelled, and in which they camped around Mount Sinai.

Screen 5

Moses speaking to the People of Israel at Mt Sinai [Exodus 19: 25]

  It was at Mount Sinai that God, through Moses, sought to detail the relationship that He was seeking to establish with the People of Israel.

  Firstly, God establishes His credentials.  In Exodus 19: 3 & 4 we read:

“The Lord called to (Moses) from the mountain and told him to say to the Israelites: ‘You saw what I, the Lord, did to the Egyptians and how I carried you as an eagle carries her young on her wings, and brought you here to me.’”

In Exodus 20: 1 & 2 we read:

“God spoke, and these were His words, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.’”

  The whole scene, then, is set against “the background of redemption”.  It is because of His redemptive work (in saving the People of Israel from oppressive slavery and in preserving them in their journeying through the arid countryside) that “God is claiming the right to issue commands to them.”  (A Cole in Exodus p150)   

  Secondly, God explains His purpose.  In Exodus 19: 5 & 6 we read God telling the People of Israel:

“The whole Earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people, a people dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests.”

  The original Hebrew wording of these verses incorporates the understanding that the People are to be God’s “peculiar treasure”  [Strong’s Concordance OT5459 – seg-ool-law]  , meaning something of personal value closely held by the one claiming ownership, something of special value and wealth that is ‘shut up’ away from access by others so that it can only be enjoyed by the one to whom it is of value.  There is the explicit understanding of choice and selection.  The People of Israel are to be a group set apart from all others on Earth, specifically for God’s possession and service.  (A Cole in Exodus p145 & 150) 

  The essence of the whole People ‘serving God as priests’ is that they have “free access to God’s presence”  (A Cole in Exodus p145)  , meaning that no intermediary is necessary if they seek to talk to God, no special knowledge of God is necessary if they seek to talk with God, no special rite or ritual is necessary if they seek to talk with God, nor is there a need for them to wait for a special time of the day to talk with God.  ‘Free access” means anyone, anywhere, anytime, any circumstance.

  There is also the understanding that the People of Israel were to act as “God’s representative for and to all other Nations of Earth”  (A Cole in Exodus p145)  , a fulfillment of the promise that God gave to Abraham when God said, “through you I will bless all the Nations”.  (Genesis 12: 3) 

  The concept of being dedicated to God implies an understanding of “holiness”, a requirement for the People to be living holy lives.  And it is this understanding that introduces the third aspect of the relationship God is seeking.  In Exodus 19: 5 we read God saying to the People of Israel:

“Now, if you will obey me and keep my Covenant, you will be my own People.”

  God is, here, “defining the Terms under which He, as a Great Monarch, accepts the People of Israel as His Subjects”, under the Covenant Agreement or Treaty that He is seeking to enter into with them.  (A Cole in Exodus p150)  The following chapters in the Book of Exodus detail the terms of this Covenant Agreement.  (B Arnold & B Beyer in Encountering the Old Testament p113) 

  Some scholars define the 10 Commandments, which we read in Exodus 20: 1 to 17, as a prelude to or a summary of this Covenant Agreement.  But are they just a list of basic moral principles?

  J B S Haldane, a British geneticist and physiologist of the first half of the 20th century, was once asked by some theologians, “what could be inferred about the mind of the Creator from the works of His Creation”.  Being a self-avowed atheist and Humanist, his rather irreverent reply was, “An inordinate fondness for beetles.”, an understandable statement given his knowledge that 1 of every 4 animal species existing on Earth is a beetle. quoting

  1. :  Hutchinson, G. Evelyn (1959). “Homage to Santa Rosalia or Why Are There So Many Kinds of Animals?”. The American Naturalist93 (870): 145–159. doi:10.1086/282070JSTOR 2458768S2CID 26401739.
  2. ^ Cain, A.J. (1993). “[no title cited]”. The Linnean. The Linnean Society of London. 9 (1).
  3. ^ God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles., accessed 31 October 2020

(See also March 1998 issue of National Geographic Vol. 93 No. 3 p103)

  When we look at the 10 Commandments, what we see is “God’s nature expressed in terms of moral imperatives”.  “God reveals himself precisely in these 10 moral commandments”.  (A Cole in Exodus p152 & 152)    In obeying what is set out in the 10 commandments, the People of Israel would be implementing the moral principles that underly God’s nature.  The Commandments make known “the Will of God for the Israelites”  (B Childs in Exodus p371 and B Arnold & B Beyer in Encountering the Old Testament p113), which the People accept, for we read in Exodus 19; 8 and 24: 7 the People of Israel readily declaring:

“We will obey the Lord and do everything that He has commanded.”

  One writer puts it this way:

“Laws are a part of life, whether they are natural Laws of the Universe or divine Laws prescribed by God.  We should not break any of God’s Laws any more than we should attempt to break the Laws of Nature.  Trying to break the Law of Gravity, for example, by jumping off a high cliff, only proves (that) the Law is true, and only breaks the person who jumps.  So it is with God’s Laws.  Breaking them only hurts us and proves that God’s Laws are just and true  [Psalm 19: 7 to 10]  .  On the other hand, obeying God’s Laws is the right response to God’s grace, not as a means to salvation, but as the response to salvation (already received).”  (B Arnold & B Beyer in Encountering the Old Testament p113) 

  The writer of Psalm 19 describes God’s Laws in terms of them being “pure and clean, bringing joy and enlightenment to a person’s heart and to the person’s need for protection and cleansing from sin”.  (The Lion Handbook to the bible p331)  The context and the purpose of God’s Laws are clarified in this Psalm.  The writer addresses God in verse 14 as “my refuge and redeemer”.  We see repeated here that God’s work of redemption is the basis for God prescribing His Laws as the basis for our relationship with Him and for our relationships with others.  The writer is careful to stress the critical importance that “(our) words and (our) thoughts be acceptable” to God, something that can only be realised as and when we obey God’s Laws.  But, it is not an acceptance that is forced upon us nor agreed to grudgingly, for the writer joyfully declares:

“They are more desirable than the finest gold; they are sweeter than honey.  They give knowledge to me; I am rewarded for obeying them.”  (verses 10 & 11) 

And, so, the pattern for a fulfilling life and for fellowship with God is made plain and clear.  But something went wrong.

Screen 6

Jesus ‘cleansing’ the Temple in Jerusalem [John 2: 15]

  People making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice at the Temple, especially to celebrate Passover, came from many Nations beyond the borders of Judah.  Luke records for us a list of 14 Nations in Acts 2: 9 to 11, which were the home countries of people who had journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Day of Pentecost, a festival that took place 50 days after Passover  (Harper Study Bible note p1627)  .  These Nations ranged from Rome to the northwest, Pontus to the north, Media to the east, Arabia to the southeast, Libya to the southwest, and every nation in between.  In Acts 8: 27 we read of an official from the Court of the Queen of Ethiopia, far to the south of Judah, who had come to Jerusalem to worship God.

  People travelling such long distances to Jerusalem rarely brought animals with them for offering as a sacrifice.  And, coming as they did from different Nations, they would have brought with them a variety of currency for donating to the Temple treasury.  (Harper Study Bible note p1587) 

  The Chief Priests and those officials authorised to manage the Temple and its activities, recognised that people making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem needed, firstly, the opportunity to purchase an animal for offering as a sacrifice, and, secondly, the opportunity to change the currency that they had brought with them, for Jewish currency which, alone, was acceptable for donating to the Temple treasury.  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p109, Craig Keener in the Bible Background Commentary of the New Testament p269)  They considered that these two activities needed to take place within the Temple complex so as to make it as easy as possible for people to undertake. 

  The outermost Court of the 1st century Temple in Jerusalem was called The Court of the Gentiles.  Non-Jews who sought to worship God could do so only in this area of the Temple, for only Jews could venture further into the inner Courts within the Temple.  Apparently, the Court of the Gentiles was a wide, open area, easily accessible from the streets surrounding the Temple complex.  It was, therefore, an ideal location for the setting up of animal stalls and of tables where dealers in animals and money changers could do business with people coming to worship at the Temple.  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible p489) 

  Therefore, we understand that the Chief Priests and the Temple authorities approved of the selling of animals and the changing of money within the Court of the Gentiles for justifiable reasons, so as to facilitate worshippers offering the required sacrifices of animals and offerings of money to God. 

  So, why did Jesus act as he did?  Why did his “devotion to his Father’s house”  (verse 17)  lead him to act as he did?

  Over time, what commenced as a service that was to be provided for worshippers evolved into a commercial enterprise, a business.  The animal dealers and money changers were now undertaking their activities as a means to make a profit.  Therefore we hear Jesus condemning the practice because it had made the Temple into a “marketplace”  (John 2: 16)  (R Tasker in John p62)  .  Along with such a change came the temptation among the traders to increase the profit margin of their businesses, because, in effect, those with an established trade within the Temple had a monopoly on the market.  And we read accounts of their overcharging for animals and overcharging for exchanging currency.  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible p489, Donald Guthrie in John in New Bible Commentary p935)  William Barclay describes what took place as “a rampant and shameless social injustice”, and “bare-faced extortion at the expense of poor and humble pilgrims”  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p110)  .Therefore we hear Jesus condemning the traders because they had “turned (the Temple) into a hideout for thieves”  (Mark 11: 17)  . 

  Jesus stated that the intent for the Temple was to be a “house of prayer”  (Mark 11: 17)  .  The Temple had been dedicated to God for just such a purpose  (Henry Halley in Halley’s Bible Handbook p435)  .  It was intended to be the place where someone could come into the very presence of God.  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible p536)  But there was little opportunity for a time of quiet contemplation with God amidst the profusion of animal stalls and tables, the noise and the smells of the animals, the calling of the traders, the exchange of business, and the bustling movement of people and their animals.  People may have observed the rites and rituals of the sacrificial worship, but it was undertaken with an absence of reverence for God.  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p112) 

  The Court of the Gentiles was the only place of worship within the Temple for people such as the Roman Centurion who built the synagogue at Capernaum  (Luke 7: 3 to 5)  , or Cornelius, the Roman Centurion who lived at Caesarea  (Acts 10: 2)  , or the Greeks who approached Philip because they sought to talk with Jesus  (John 12: 20)  .  Where else could they go, for they were barred from entering further into the Temple complex?  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p113 & 114)  In the actions of Jesus was an implicit condemnation of the Chief Priests and Temple authorities, for they were the ones condoning the selling of animals and the exchanging of money as businesses within the Temple, they were the ones condoning the overcharging, they were the ones condoning the changes to the function and the atmosphere of the Temple, they were the ones condoning non-Jews who were coming to the Temple to becoming ‘second-class’ worshippers.  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible p489)  One writer states that this incident at the Temple “illustrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and prejudice that was at the heart of Israel’s religious life.”  (The Lion Handbook to the Bible p536)  It was this to which Jesus reacted as he did.

Screen 7

Jesus addressing the Jewish authorities [John 2: 18 – 21]

  Is it any wonder, then, that the Jewish authorities, those who were responsible to the Chief Priests for the effective and efficient operating of the activities within the Temple complex, came rushing up to Jesus?  They then asked a particular question of Jesus?  They didn’t ask for an explanation for his actions, nor did they ask for the name of the person who may have given him an authorisation to act as he did.    They asked Jesus, “What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?”  (John 2: 18) 

  When Jesus was using his whip to force the animal dealers and their animals outside of the Temple, he spoke about the Temple as “my Father’s house”  (John 2: 16)  .  By the words that he spoke Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God.  He displayed a zeal for ‘cleansing’ the Temple so that it could revert to being a “house of prayer for the people of all nations”  (Mark 11: 17)  .  By his actions Jesus was claiming to be the Son of God.  The Jewish authorities clearly recognised this, and that was why they asked for the display of a miracle, for only someone who was speaking for and acting under the authority of God, someone who was God’s representative on Earth, could perform a miracle to prove that very fact.  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p115)  The Prophets of the Old Testament showed this to be the accepted pattern.  In the eyes of these Jewish authorities, it was only someone who could prove that they were speaking and acting under the authority of God, who had the right to defy the authority that had been granted to the authorities by the Chief Priests, who, as far as they were concerned, were God’s representatives on Earth.

  We read that the Jewish authorities could not comprehend the reply of Jesus  (John 2: 20)  (Donald Guthrie in John in New Bible Commentary p935)  ,for they were fixated with the physical, the Temple building and the sacrificing of animals.  They failed to consider that Jesus could have been referring to something different.  In his actions in clearing from the Temple the animal dealers and their animals and the money changers, Jesus showing that true worship of God was not associated with the rites and the rituals of the physical sacrificing of animals, for this could do nothing to lead anyone to God.  (William Barclay in John Vol 1 p116)  True worship was associated with a spiritual relationship between God and those who are responding with obedience and trust to His gracious redeeming power.

  Jesus was not playing with words when he replied the way he did to the Jewish authorities.  He was not playing ‘mind-games’ with them.  Jesus was being open and honest in his reply.  For, surely, his resurrection would be the proof beyond all other proofs that He was the Son of God, that he had the right to do what he had done in the Temple.  It would be proof that God was working in the World through him.  No other miracle would have sufficed.

Screen 8

The crucifixion on Golgotha [1 Corinthians 1: 23]

  Jesus came “to inaugurate a new order in religion”.  (C Dodd in The Interpretation of the fourth Gospel p303)  It was not that God had changed.  God’s intent was and is to redeem people from their bondage to sin.  (Exodus 20: 1 & 2)   God call was and is for people to be a chosen people, to be in close fellowship with Him.  (Exodus 19: 5 & 6)  God’s condition was and is for people to trust and obey His will and His pathway in Life.  (Exodus 19: 5)  What had changed was the religion of the people.  They could not see that the “many imperfections of the sacrificial system” meant that it could not secure “remission of sins”.  (R Tasker in John p62)  They could not see that people were putting their hope in the performance of religious ceremonies as the means for getting right with God, without any corresponding change of their heart.  (R Tasker in John p63)  They refused to see that being a member of the chosen people of God had nothing whatsoever to do with being a member of their racial group.  They refused to see that obeying God’s Laws did not guarantee God’s salvation, but was to be the correct response to God’s salvation that had been freely granted to them.

  Jesus made reference to his offering of his own body as a sacrifice, “an offering whose acceptance by God as an all-sufficient atonement (for sin), would be “signified by his resurrection on the third day”.  (R Tasker in John p63)  But, to the Jew, a crucified man was “the epitome of shamefulness and weakness”  (Craig Keener in the Bible Background Commentary of the New Testament p456)  .  To the Jew, “a crucified Messiah was unthinkable”  (Norman Hillyer in 1 Corinthians in New Bible Commentary p1054)  .  Paul writes that “the crucified Christ that is an offensive stumbling block to the Jew”  (1 Corinthians 1: 23)  Because of their dependence upon inadequate traditions, upon inadequate rites and rituals, and upon their inadequate grasp of God at work in the World, they rejected the offer that Jesus brought to them.

  The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Church in Corinth, declares, “by means of the foolish message we preach, God decided to save those who believe.”  (1 Corinthians 1: 21)  Norman Hillyer in his Commentary on 1 Corinthians, notes that the verb “believe”, in this verse, is in “the present continuous tense, indicating a constant attitude”  (Norman Hillyer in 1 Corinthians in New Bible Commentary p1054)  .  We are called to maintain this constant attitude of belief, a belief in a wise and powerful God, who seeks for us to be his precious treasure, who, by His grace, has made available to us redemption from sin and everlasting reconciliation with himself.  Like the writer of Psalm 19, may we have a constant attitude of joy and reverence for God, who is our refuge and redeemer.  Amen.


Offering Prayer    

“For the life that you have given” TiS 774  [to be sung to the tune ‘Austria’ – refer to TiS 772]

[Only the one verse is sung]

For the life that you have given,

For the love in Christ made known,

With these fruits of time and labour,

With these gifts that are your own:

Here we offer, Lord, our praises;

Heart and mind and strength we bring;

Give us grace to love and serve you,

Living what we pray and sing.

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Prayers for Others

Leader: Let us come before God with our cares and our concerns.

  Merciful God, we pray for the Church, that, individually, we may each grow in our awareness of our dignity as temples of the Holy Spirit.

  We pray for all who teach and preach within your Church, that they may faithfully proclaim Christ crucified and lead others into the mystery of your love.

  We pray for the grace of renewal, that your covenant with us will move our hearts to a deeper relationship with you and greater service to our neighbours.

  We pray for a deeper appreciation of the commandments, that we may allow the wisdom and vision of the commandments given to Moses to form our conscience and guide our decisions.

  We pray for a spirit of integrity, that we recognize ourselves as your servants, honouring your name by our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

  We pray for a cleansing of the temple of our hearts, that you will free us from all that enslaves us and ensnares us.

  We pray for an end to complacency regarding our wanton use and waste of the riches that you give to us through your Creation.  Give us the courage to initiate changes to our lifestyle and practices.

  We pray for an end to injustice, that you will rouse our hearts to identify any injustice in which we are involved.  Give us the strength to challenge oppression in any manner or format in our Society.

  We pray for an end to violence, that you will heal the brokenness in our Society that devalues Human life, and inspire leaders to work toward protecting the innocent and the vulnerable from harm.

  We pray for all who are recovering from natural disasters, that you will give them strength, help them to navigate the process for securing the assistance that they need, and to give them hope for a renewed life and a renewed livelihood.

  We pray for members of our Governments at all levels, that you will guide their deliberations and help them address the issues that burden the poor and marginalized of our Society.

  We pray for all who are ill, that you will relieve their pain, restore their health and wholeness.

  We pray that you will protect the Human family from the further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

  We pray for successful distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines, that you will guide the delivery of vaccines to where it is needed and give strength to all who are administering it.

Copyright © 2021. Joe Milner. All rights reserved.<br> Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.

We pray for Rev Louis and Joana as they soon commence their travel holiday.

  Merciful God, we bring these prayers to you, trusting in your love and care.  To your glory we pray.  Amen.

Hymn: “Bread of the World in mercy broken” TiS512 AHB437

[We sing only the first two verses]

Verse 1 of 2

Bread of the World, in mercy broken

Wine of the soul in mercy shed;

By whom the words of life were spoken

And in whose death our sins are dead.

Verse 2 of 2

Look on the heart by sorrow broken

Look on the tears by sinners shed;

And be Thy feast to us the token

That by Thy grace our souls are fed.

Reginald Heber

Sacrament of Communion 

(following Uniting in Worship 2 p162 to 222) 

The Peace

Leader: The peace of the Lord be always with you.

All: And also with you.

The Invitation

Leader: Christ, our Lord, invites to his Table all who love him, all who earnestly repent of their sin and who seek to live in peace with one another.

Prayer of Approach

Leader: Lord God, we come to your Table, trusting in your mercy and not in any goodness of our own.  We are not worthy even to gather up the crumbs under your table, but it is your nature always to have mercy, and on that we depend.  So, feed us with the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your son, that we may for ever live in him and he in us. Amen.

Narrative of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper

Leader: Hear the words of the institution of this Sacrament as recorded by the Apostle Paul:

  “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body which is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.’  In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new Covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, for the remembrance of me.  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.’”

  And, so, according to our Saviour’s command, we set this bread and this cup apart for the Holy Supper to which he calls us, and we come to God with our prayers of thanksgiving.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

Leader: The Lord be with you.

All: And also with you.

Leader: Lift up your hearts.

All: We lift them to the Lord.

Leader: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Leader: With all we are, we give you glory, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the one and holy God, Sovereign of all Time and Space.  We thank you for this wide red land, for its rugged beauty, its changing seasons, for its diverse people, and for all that lives upon this fragile Planet.  You have called us to be the Church in this place, to give voice to every creature under Heaven.  We rejoice with all that you have made, as we join the company of Heaven in their song:

All: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed be the One who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Leader: We thank you that you called a covenant people to be the light to the Nations.  Through Moses you taught us to love your Law, and, in the Prophets, you cried out for justice.  In the fullness of your mercy, you became one with us in Jesus Christ, who gave himself up for us on the cross.  You make us alive together with him, that we may rejoice in his presence and share his peace.  By water and the Spirit, you open the Kingdom to all who believe, and welcome us to your Table: for by grace we are saved through faith.  With this bread and this cup we do as our Saviour commands: we celebrate the redemption he has won for us.

All: Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Leader: Pour out the Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.  Make us one with him, one with each other, and one in ministry in the World, until at last we feast with him in the Kingdom.  Through your Son, Jesus Christ, in your holy Church, all honour and glory are yours, Father Almighty, now and for ever.

All: Blessing and honour and glory and power are yours for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

All: 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.

  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.

Breaking of the Bread

Leader: The bread we break is a sharing in the body of Christ.

  The cup we take is a sharing in the blood of Christ.

  The gifts of God for the People of God.

Lamb of God

Leader: Jesus, Lamb of God,

All: Have mercy on us.

Leader: Jesus, bearer of our sins,

All: Have mercy on us.

Leader: Jesus, redeemer of the World,

All: Grant us peace.

The Distribution

Leader: Receive this Holy Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, and feed upon him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

(after all have received the bread)

The body of Christ keep you in eternal life.

(after all have received the juice)

The blood of Christ keep you in eternal life.

Prayer after Communion

Leader: Blessed be God who calls us together.

All: Praise to God who makes us one People.

Leader: Blessed be God who has forgiven our sins.

All: Praise to God who gives us hope and freedom.

Leader: Blessed be God whose Word is proclaimed.

All: Praise to God who is revealed as the One who loves.

Leader: Blessed be God who alone has called us.

All: Therefore, we offer all that we are and all that we shall become.

Leader: Accept, O God, our sacrifice of praise.

All: Accept our thanks for we have seen the greatness of your love.  Amen.


“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases” Scripture in Song volume 2 number 209/414 – 1 verse to be sung twice.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

His mercies never come to an end.

They are new every morning, new every morning.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord.

Great is Thy faithfulness.

Edith McNeill

Benediction  (from A Year of Prayer p52 – 54) 

Leader: May we have hearts that trust God without complaining.  May we live lives in constant gratitude for God’s love and grace.  May we worship God with hearts of gladness, rejoicing in His faithfulness and power.

  And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon you and remain with you always.  Amen.

Benediction Song

“For from him and through him” Scripture in Song volume 1 number 15 – 1 verse to be sung twice

For from him and through Him and to Him are all things,

To God be the glory for ever Amen.

Ena Thompson