Sunday, August 31, 2014


Today we shared our Sunday morning service with friends from St Luke's.  On Friday we had welcomed thirty to forty youngsters for a special Summer Fun day and had shared the wonder of God's love.

The love God has for his world, the love God has for us and the love we are called to share with others.

These are only very rough notes of all we shared today ...

Call to Worship

Let us love one another, for love comes from God.  For God is love!

Hymn 217 Love divine, all loves excelling

On the platform for our day on Friday we had a tree ... the youngsters had shared thoughts about it.  It was a reminder of the way the story of the tree goes from start to finish of the Bible.  In the wonder of God's creation as people find themselves in the garden of creation at its heart is a tree, the tree of life.

At the foot of our tree was a dark heart.   And around the heart crumpled pieces of paper. The trunk of the tree had the appearance of a cross.  On the crumpled pieces of paper those feelings and thoughts that trouble us, weigh us down and which let us down and let God down.  Selfish ambition.  Telling lies.  Hurting others.

In our prayer we laid those troubling thoughts down.

And then above the cross on the tree a heart full of life ... and from that renewed heart, we were taken to another image used by Paul of the fruit that's borne of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generoisty, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

In our opening prayer we laid down all those things that trouble, those things in our hearts that are troubling to God.  We rejoiced at that forgiving love God has for us in Christ and we prayed that we too might bear the fruit of the Spirit in the living of our lives that through us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control may flow into our world and make a difference in people's lives.

Our prayer was followed by the Lord's prayer.

We then focused our thoughts on the love God has for whole world.

God loves the whole world

We talked about the wonderful collage that was the focal point of our platform display of the glory of God's creation - and invited everyone to look at Genesis chapter 1 in the church Bibles.   We worked through the chapter and reflected on the wonderfully rich poetry these ancient words use to convey the most wonderful truth of all that the glory of the world around us is the glory of God's creation ... and it is good!

Poetry that complements the science that tells us how that world came to be and with which the science in now way conflicts.

AS we were reflecting on those words, Judi took the younger members of the congregation into the porch and prepared with them a wonderful re-telling of the glory of creation.

LIGHT  -  have two people (possibly Adam and Matthew)  'hidden' behind the lecturns and when LIGHT is mentioned they stand waving white flags which they then drape over the edges of the lecturns.  They then come down off the platform to stand each side at the front to help organise the children.

SKY  -  I shall ask Angela -  blue flag to wave
SEA  -  I shall ask Emily  -  blue/turquoise flag to wave under the SKY.  (The cloth for EARTH will already be in place on the floor of the platform  and Emily can lower the flag onto this.)

EARTH  -  Emily raises her flag and encourages two children to lift the brown cloth and put it down again.  Then she and the children come off the platform and she sends the children down a side aisle to the back of the church.

COLOUR  -  Two children, organised by Matthew and Adam wave the multicoloured fabric, put it down on the platform and pretend to be trees.  Then two other children, organised by Angela and Emily walk on from the side (at the front) carrying pink floral flags.

SUN and MOON  - Two children, organised by Matthew and Adam walk on from the sides with a yellow flag for the SUN and a white flag for the MOON and stand on the platform.
STARS  - up to three childen organised by Angela and Emily come on to the platform with silvery shakey things.

I shall be at the back of the church organising the following with hopefully Phil and Christian helping

ANIMALS - various

ADAM AND EVE -  rather than choosing an Adam and Eve, what about the whole congregation stands for this part and perhaps there's something (short) we can all sing together while waving the various flags?

We went on to sing the song  My God is so big - it's the bigness of God that we celebrate in God's creation.

We then looked through some slides of the fun things we had done with the children ... and interspersed with the slides verses from the Bible that go to the heart of our faith in the God who is love.

For God is love

Great to share with the children – about God’s love – something we all share – look at the different things we did … and then the Congregation to read out the verses we were invited to think about.

1 John 4:7 - John 3:16
Matthew 22:39
1 Corinthians 13:4
1 John 4:10

Let us love one another, for love comes from God.
1 John 4:7

God loves the whole world

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes
in him shall not perish
but have eternal life.
John 3:16

You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Matthew 22:39

You shall love
the Lord your God
with all your heart and
with all your soul and
with all your might.
Deuteronomy 6:5

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not boast,
it is not proud.
1 Corinthians 13:4

This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.
1 John 4:10

We then sang a song inspired by the words of John 3:16

Song: God so loved the world

That gives rise to the question … what is love?

Mike Workman of St Luke's then shared something of what we had shared with the children in answer to that question on Friday

What is love?

We looked at the love God has for the whole world, the love God has for us and the love we can share with each other.

Adrian shared in Prayers of love and concern for those we know to be in need and for the troubled parts of the world - the prayers were worked around the words What does God require of us but to love mercy to do justice and to walk humbly before our God.

We then made a presentation to Carolyn who today finishes three years of work with us as our Children's worker and latterly as our Children's Ministry Leader.  Carolyn presented us with a wonderful photobook of the time she has spent with us.

Offering and Dedication

As our service came to an end we went back to the foot of the tree.

As the Bible begins with the tree of life, so it comes to an end with the tree of life.  It is in that wonderful vision of the new heaven and the the new earth where mourning and crying and pain are no more, where God makes all things new.   Then there's a vision of the waters of the river of life flowing out into the desert of the world and on each side of the river the tree - which fruits in each month of the year, all the year round.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

So people were invited to take home with them a promise and a prayer ... to think and maybe write someone's name to pray for this coming week, or maybe some part of the world.

Love one another for love comes from God.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Hymn:  In Christ alone

Words of Blessing

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