6 November 2016
Year C Sunday 32 (Pentecost 23)
Call to worship
As we gather together in Jesus’ name,
He is with us.
When we go out into the world in Jesus’ name,
He is with us.
When we are in doubt and things seem hopeless
Christ is with us.
No matter what happens,
Christ is with us.
We gather in his name to worship God.
Hymn Together in song Together in Song 442 All praise to our redeeming Lord
Lighting Christ Candle
Prayers of adoration and confession
All of creation exists to praise you,
The grandeur of mountains
The quietness of still waters
The music of birdsong
The mystery of whale song
The power of storms.
We come before you,
Seeking to join in the praise
Offered by all of creation.
We come before you
With all of the ups and downs of life
With joys and disappointments
With hopes and fears
With needs and wants
With success and failure.
We bring the chaos of our lives,
And dedicate all of it to your praise.
In this coming week, we will stop to remember the end of World War I
We confess, that we have remembered, without learning the lesson that comes with remembering,
Our world is still at war in so many places, for so many reasons,
Even where we are not actually at war,
Human beings have failed to learn to live in peace and love,
Declaration of forgiveness.
Passing the Peace
Hymn Together in Song 690 Beauty for brokenness
Both of today’s Scripture readings are messages of hope.
In the Haggai reading, after returning from exile, God promised that the destruction and devastation of all the nation had been through was not the end, the temple would be rebuilt, things would be the same, or even better, than they were before the exile.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus is confronted by Sadducees. We don’t know much about the Sadducees, except that they didn’t believe in resurrection. (The child’s way of remembering what the group was called: they didn’t believe in the resurrection, so they were sad, you see.)
The Sadducees give an extreme example, based on the tradition of levirate marriage, which was part of the Old Testament law, but may possibly not have actually happened in real life.
Jesus explains that resurrection life won’t be the same as life here and now – people won’t die, so all the need to produce children (the motivation for levirate marriage) would not exist.
Resurrection life would be different, but it would happen. It’s a message of hope. Whatever problems or issues we see, God’s got it under control.
I don’t know about anyone else, but this week I really need to be reminded that God’s got it all under control.
This week will include Remembrance Day – a time to remember the end of World War I. Remembering isn’t about just recalling just how horrible war is, it’s supposed to remind us that we don’t want to do that again. Except that we are doing it again. We’ve got wars going on, refugees fleeing for their lives, people’s homes being destroyed.
Sometimes it seems as if human beings are incapable of learning our lesson, as if we have no hope of ever living together in peace.
The American presidential election is dominating our news, and the possible fallout from the two different choices. Even though it’s not our country, not our vote or our responsibility, we know there will be economic, diplomatic and possibly military consequences will affect the whole world.
Here in Australia, our own politicians seem to be becoming more divisive, less able to work together. We have an increasing divide between rich and poor, and between generations, with young people effectively locked out of the housing market.
The damaging effects of climate change are starting to be visible. And while we look in horror at a dying reef, our nearby Pacific neighbours are afraid of their island homes being swallowed by the ocean.
People are afraid, and looking for someone to blame: immigrants, Moslems, Moslem immigrants.
And all of this makes me think of the Israelites back from exile, looking at the remains of the temple and seeing something that looks totally hopeless.
And the prophet says, God’s got this under control. So work together, build something worthwhile, and know that the job’s not too big because God’s in charge of the whole project.
We don’t have a temple to build.
We have a community to build, neighbours to love, peace and understanding to create, justice to promote, politicians to hold to account, and the planet God created to protect.
That sounds like a lot. It is a lot. I’m going to say it again.
• a community to build,
• neighbours to love,
• peace and understanding to create,
• justice to promote
• politicians to hold to account,
• and the planet God created to protect.
Like the former exiles, our job seems big, but it’s not too big, because, we’re working together, and because God’s in charge of the whole project.
Hymn and Offering Together in Song 473 Community of Christ
Hymn Together in song 542 Far beyond our mind’s grasp
Service of holy communion
Notices: What’s God doing among us.
Prayers of the People
On this Sunday between All Saints Day and Remembrance Day, we remember:
We remember all of those who have gone before us in faith, and showed us your love by their example.
We remember all of those who have risked everything for what they thought was right.
We remember, and give you thanks for their legacy.
We pray for our world: for those affected by war, for those fleeing harm, for those fighting for what they believe is right.
We pray for Americans as they go to vote, when politics has divided people so very much.
Issues from notices:
We pray all of these things through our saviour Jesus. Amen.
Hymn Together in Song 595 O Jesus I have promised