At Engadine Uniting we believe all people are created lovingly and wonderfully in the image of God, and we welcome everyone regardless of race, age, ability, sexuality and gender.
As a Christian community we believe that God reaches out to us in love and acceptance and that our relationships with each other should express love and respect.
Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, whatever is in your heart – you are welcome here.
This year, the Seasons of Creation theme is “Listen to the Voice of Creation.”
Psalm 19 says,
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
During the Season of Creation, our common prayer and action can help us listen for the voices of those who are silenced. In prayer and worship we lament the individuals, communities, species, and ecosystems who are lost, and those whose livelihoods are threatened by habitat loss and climate change.
Through liturgies, public prayers, symbolic acts and advocacy, we can remember those who are displaced or have disappeared from public spaces and political processes. By listening to the voice of all creation, humans join in thanksgiving and lament for our common home.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLE
This candle brings light into the dark as the stars light up the skies at night, revealing the beauty and wonder of our Creator God, and the beauty and wonder of the whole of creation, the beauty and wonder of humankind!
CALL TO WORSHIP
Instead of a prayer calling us to worship, we will once again enjoy the sounds of the bush with a new 3-min video of birdsong. You may wish to watch the birds and their names on the screen, or just sit back with closed eyes and absorb the sound. Either way, we are using this time to hear the call to join in worshipping the creator. Birdsong Part 1
Consider the Birds of the Air – A prayer from Bruce Prewer (Narelle)
of gregarious galah and flitting crimson finch,
of regal back swan and dainty blue wren,
of raucous wattlebird and gossiping wagtail,
of dancing brolga and flocking budgerigar
help us to be aware of you.
of salty seagull and the singing thrush,
of wandering albatross and cocky apostle bird
of colourful king parrot and cute fairy penguin,
of wary cassowary and calling currawong,
help us to know you.
God of Life
of warbling magpie and strutting mudlark,
of stalking heron and belligerent honeyeater
of laughing kookaburra and chirping cockatiel,
of skimming pelican and circling kite,
help us to be healed by you.
of mimicking bowerbird and tinkling bellbird,
of cautious jabiru and cheerful Jacky winter
of waddling wood duck and bold drongo,
of sweeping spoonbill and diving grebe,
help us to trust you.
Breath of God
of chattering lorikeet and mimicking lyrebird,
of plumed egret and diving sea eagle
of discreet reed warbler and noisy whip bird,
of nesting magpie goose and jaunty spinifex pigeon,
help us to worship you.
SONG – God of Creation Craig Mitchell (Morning Has Broken Tune)
God of Creation, Gentle life-giver, Present at birth, and all through our days
Author of sunrise, Song in the night sky, Here in this place, we offer our praise
Jesus, Companion, teacher and healer, friend of the grieving, suffering, the poor
Stand with your people, whisper among us, promise of mercy, goodness for all
Spirit of Comfort blow through Creation, stir up new life, breathe peace through our world
Healer of hearts, and hope for tomorrow, weave all our sorrows into new dawn
Here we give thanks for, life in its fullness, blessings received, your gifts to us all
Make us a people filled with compassion, selflessly giving, serving your world
Craig Mitchell, 2010
May be used in worship with acknowledgement.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
We hear your teaching, and do not understand. We have your guidance and take any other path. We are wealthy in many ways, and we do not share with others. Open our hearts to hear you, God, help us to change. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Hear the sacred story: Be assured of God’s faithfulness. God receives the repentant with joy, restores us to new life. Hear these words, and be at peace: God forgives. Thanks be to God. Amen.
BIBLE READINGS: Ian
Amos 8:4-7 (NIV)
Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land, saying,
“When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?”—
skimping on the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.”
Luke 16:1-13, then 19-31
Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg – I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
“‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
(Jesus also said) “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
We come to a time of thanksgiving, a time of gratitude in particular for this land we now call Australia, and for the unique beauty of this place.
We asked you to send us a photo of a place in Australia that you especially love. It could be a place that inspires and replenishes you; a place you simply love for its natural beauty; a place that holds special memories for you. It could be a place you’ve been to once, and found unforgettable, or it could be somewhere you return to regularly.
Here are some of those places special to those of us here, set to some music. I won’t describe each place, but each photo has special significance to the people who contributed it, and includes places where people grew up, artwork bought directly from the artist whilst visiting a place of special memories, places of dreaming and spiritual meaning. Jan will then share with us a little more about the photo she provided.
Kathy: We are now going to pray and as we enter this time of prayer, I invite you to pause for a moment and think of your special place in Australia that you especially love. Close your eyes, remember, see, smell and feel.
Holy God, in silence we think of that particular place in nature in Australia that we have named or shared today that is especially dear to us. Thank you for what it means to us, for the way it moves us, fills us, connects us to you, and reminds us of the wonder of all your creation. Let our hearts be open to the beauty that glows bright in the world around us; to the land we live in that sustains us, inspires us, replenishes us, that feeds our souls. AMEN
Litany of lament and repentance
Sue: The following is a Prayer of Lament written by members of the four Religious Orders in the Anglican Church of Melanesia, as an observance of the voices of women, indigenous people and creation that have been silenced. We will light three candles to represent these voices, and at the end of the prayer we will keep a time of silence and extinguish candles in memory of communities that are being wiped out by environmental degradation and creatures that are becoming extinct.
Light three candles to represent the voices of Indigenous people, women and creation, naming each one.
Let us pray: God of our vibrant world, You have given humans the responsibility to care for each other. Indigenous people have historical, spiritual, and personal ties to these lands on which we inhabit. But many of us have failed to recognise the presence of God in these traditions, and their voices have been silenced.
We are thankful to Indigenous Nations for their continuing care and presence on the Earth. We all value the resilience and strength shown through the generations and today. We turn to the Spirit who dismantles borders and celebrates life giving community.
Help us make a place where everyone is welcome and we acknowledge your grace at work in the ways of one another. Together, may we learn the spiritual richness of our relationships in the web of life. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
O God of the whole of creation. You have created land and trees, animals and all living creatures on the earth. We are destroying the forests through poisons and logging, the voices of the birds, insects and forest dwellers are silenced.
You created the wonders of the ocean, the fish, shells, reefs, whales, waves, corals. The oceans are warming and as they drown in plastic, their voices are being stilled. We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Please help us to care for the oceans, the land and the forest, and to recognise that it is your blessing for us.
Creation is speaking to us, but their voices have been silenced by the roar of our greed. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Mothering Earth, our Sister, you sustain and govern us. We have silenced the voices of your people, especially the voices of women – protectors of the Earth who have been killed by land grabbers, mining companies and oil companies. Many are the voices of our sisters who have been silenced by flooding, hurricanes and drought as the earth’s warming brings destruction.
May we listen to the voices of our mothers and sisters and learn to treasure and protect the web of life. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Please, Creator God , forgive us for the human activities which have overpowered the weather and caused destruction of our environment. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer. Amen
(Three people come forward to extinguish the candles)
HYMN: God of Jeremiah
God of Jeremiah, grieving with an aching heart,
for an empire, unbelieving as it falls apart,
when your thunder goes unheard, we will tend the prophet’s word
and in season, out of season, we will sing your song.
When our wound is left to fester, though the pain goes deep,
when we’ve sown a hundred whirlwinds, but have yet to reap,
when the platitudes of peace only make our fears increase,
with a poem and a story we will sing your song.
When the palace looks at poverty with scornful eyes,
when the scroll of truth is shredded by a leader’s lies,
when the glory of the cross is a propaganda gloss,
in the square and in the senate we will sing your song.
We will break the jar of plenty by the gates of gold,
we will buy a field of promise when the farm is sold,
at the ending of the dream, in the death of false esteem,
at the bank and in the market we will sing your song.
We will praise the grainy granite of the Law’s demands,
and the Life-creating, Lover-God with wounded hands;
we will sing your storyline to an empire in decline,
and in exile or in honor we will sing your song.
Words © 1993 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188
SERMON: John McK (sermon from 9.33)
REFLECTION and OFFERING PRAYER
We are joined to every grain of sand:
We are joined to every shining leaf:
We are joined to every drop of rain:
Earth does not belong to us – we belong to Earth.
We are joined to every creature’s breath:
We are joined to every beam of light:
We are joined to every particle of creation.
Earth does not belong to us – we belong to Earth.
(silence for reflection)
We are joined forever to God’s remarkable love which brings us to a place of healing and action. Through this love, we can live out these words: Earth does not belong to us – we belong to Earth.
Generous God, In response to your great love We give in grateful thanksgiving for all that you have given us. In the upside-down world of the gospel, we measure our wealth not by what we have, but what we can give away. Let us give generously, gifts of money, of food, the work of our hands, our hearts, and our lives to bless your church, your people, and your creation. AMEN
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS – Leanne
…and as is our custom, we will pray an alternative version of the Lord’s Prayer to help us gain a deeper understanding of the traditional words. This week it is adapted from a prayer by the Rev Sherri Weinberg of the Rainbow Cathedral near Seattle:
God, heart of the world, revealed through every aspect of creation, understood through our awareness.
May we honour the holiness of creation and act accordingly so that your love is reflected in the way we live.
May we always be thankful for the food we eat and the friends we have. May we forgive those who transgress against us and be forgiven for our own.
In the freedom of love may we live as your heartbeat and not be compromised by hesitation. Through our freedom, may your justice be seen and heard and experienced forever and ever. Amen.
Creating God, your name is written in every leaf, every bird, every river,
every stone, every living being. Thank you for calling us by name. We give thanks for this season of creation. Make us attentive to the wounds of the earth
and willing to work for the healing of the whole creation. Send us
out as your hands and feet to care for the earth and take action on
climate change and environment issues so that we those who come after us can enjoy an abundant nature and live a long life on earth.
Fruits of the spirit and all of creation blessing (by Brooke Prentis)
Creator God, May we see your love in each other’s hearts, Your joy in the Golden Wattle, your peace in the morning sunrise,
Your patience in the mighty mountain, your kindness in the Quokka, Your goodness in the Rainbow Lorikeet, your faith in the ancient Grasstree,
Your gentleness in the Leafy Sea Dragon, your self-control in the dry desert plains. Now with the fruits of the spirit, and all of creation, Go in truth, justice, love, and hope. AMEN
Blessing Song ‘For you deep stillness’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpPLReD-Zuw
For you, deep stillness of the silent inland
For you, deep blue of the desert skies
For you, flame red of the rocks and stones
For you, sweet water from hidden springs.
From the edges seek the heartlands
and when you’re burnt by the journey
may the cool winds of the hovering Spirit
soothe and replenish you.
In the name of Christ, In the name of Christ.