To you all here listening today or at home on the CD or even reading this on our webpage, welcome.
Let us pray
Lord of all blessings, being here today we are reminded of your goodness.
Giver of all hope, we are reminded of your love.
Spirit of God, giver of all inspiration, we are reminded of your calling.
We come to be blessed and give a blessing to others.
We come to listen, ready to take what we hear out into the world.
We come just as we are, ready to leave changed.
We come with whatever is heavy on our hearts, knowing that we are less than perfect.
We are here ready to acknowledge our failures, ready to receive all that you give, ready to be transformed by your love,
ready to start afresh.
We are truly blessed,
The first reading this morning is from the book of Micah, Chapter 6 verses 1-8 and can be found around page 901 of the Old Testament section of the pew bibles.
The prophet Micah reminds the Israelites what God has done for them and what he expects of them in return.
Micah, Chapter 6 verses 1-8
Listen to the Lord's case against Israel.
Arise, O Lord, and present your case; let the mountains and the hills hear what you say. You mountains, you everlasting foundations of the earth, listen to the Lord's case! The Lord has a case against his people. He is going to bring an accusation against Israel.
The Lord says, "My people, what have I done to you? How have I been a burden to you? Answer me. I brought you out of Egypt; I rescued you from slavery; I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.
My people, remember what King Balak of Moab planned to do to you and how Balaam son of Beor answered him. Remember the things that happened on the way from the camp at Acacia to Gilgal. Remember these things and you will realize what I did in order to save you."
What shall I bring to the Lord, the God of heaven, when I come to worship him? Shall I bring the best calves to burn as offerings to him? Will the Lord be pleased if I bring him thousands of sheep or endless streams of olive oil? Shall I offer him my first-born child to pay for my sins?
No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.
The second reading today is from Matthew chapter 5 verses 1-12 and can be found around page 7 of the New Testament section of the pew bibles.
Jesus has now recruited his disciples as we have heard over the past 2 Sundays. His ministry is now in full swing with large crowds following him so Jesus climbs a hill and starts to teach his disciples with the crowd listening on. This is the opening section of the well-known Sermon on the Mount addressing True Happiness.
Matthew, Chapter 5 verses 1-12
Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them:
Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil lies against you because you are my followers.
Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
May God bless and help us to understand these readings of his holy word.
Let us once again bow our heads in prayer, let us pray:
The world seems such a mess. It seems to lurch from one crisis to another.
We hear so much about climate change and worry we have left it too late to avoid the consequences. In Australia we are still seeing first-hand the awful consequences for the population and wildlife. We pray for those so badly affected and all those who are working towards correcting or limiting the impact of climate change.
Now we are faced with a pandemic originating from China and spreading all over the world and getting ever closer to us. We pray for all those infected, especially those fighting for their lives, and also those searching for a vaccine.
We were also reminded this week of the terrible inhumanity and suffering in the concentration camps 75 years ago, and even now we worry that intolerance and hatred is on the rise again. We pray for those in positions of influence that they may help build a society based on forgiveness and inclusivity.
How did mankind let your world get like this? You must look down and be so disappointed.
Yet amongst all this chaos you inspire those who love you to rise to the challenges we face. There are many examples of self-sacrifice and immense bravery in all these adversities. Amazing things done by ordinary people. We thank you for putting these people in places where and when they are needed and ask that you help us to use our own lives in your service. We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
Loving and generous God, we have so many blessings for which to thank you and yet it can be often hard to see these in the midst of all that clutters our lives and tests our resolve.
We have heard Jesus’ words of blessing, a reminder that you are in all things and we do not deal with our problems alone.
And so, we bring to you now the worries, the people we love. We bring them for your care and blessing.
May those who feel worn down by life
know again of your love.
May those who mourn
know again your comfort.
May those who lack self-worth
know they are everything to you.
May those who want to serve you
know that they are appreciated.
May those who strive to show your love
know that they are also deeply loved.
May those who are good and kind
know that this does not go unnoticed.
May those who work to bring peace
know that you are with them.
May those who face persecution
know that in you they can find strength.
May those whose decisions affect all our lives receive your guidance and know your wisdom.
You know that we are in the midst of reflecting on the future direction of your church here in Alva and we ask your blessing for this work. We pray that you will guide us to make the right decisions so that our energy and time is directed to furthering the mission you have entrusted to us within our community.
O Lord hear our prayers.
Let us now say together the prayer that Jesus taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever