Call to Worship
we come humbly into your presence.
Jesus, Son of God
we come gratefully into your presence.
we come quietly into your presence.
When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, Everything inside me wants to jump for joy!
Hymn 112 – Thou whose almighty Word
Prayers of Approach and Confession
Creator God, giver of food and drink, clothing and warmth, love and hope and life in all its fullness, we praise and adore you.
Jesus our Lord, Wisdom and Word, lover of the outcast friend of the poor, one of us yet one with God, we praise and adore you.
Holy Spirit, storm and breath, building bridges, breaking chains, opening doors and waking the oppressed, unseen and unexpected. We praise and adore you.
Holy Trinity, source of all our sharing, in whom we love and meet and know our neighbour, unbounded dance of love. With heart and mind and voice, we praise and adore you.
God of mystery and mercy,
you know the details of our lives.
You see the sin and the sorrow we bear;
you see the problems and the possibilities we face.
You see how we fit into the world around us
and how we rub each other the wrong way.
We confess we do not always see what you see.
Open our eyes to the truth of our lives and touch us with your grace.
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away. See, everything has become new! Thanks be to God that we can all make a new start through God’s gift of forgiveness and peace! Amen
Readings – Genesis 1: 1-5 (Pg 3)
Psalm 8 (Pg 546)
Matthew 28: 16-20 (Pg 1001)
Hymn 595 – O breath of life
Hymn 462 – The King of love my shepherd is
God in three persons, blessed Trinity, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You are our Father God, the creator, giving us all things to enjoy. You are Christ the Saviour of the world, who died and rose again to bring life eternal. You are the Spirit of truth and love, willing to dwell in us. Help us as we celebrate Holy Communion to remember your sacrifice on the cross. Amen.
What makes you wonder? What makes you gasp in amazement? For some it could simply be driving or walking through our Cheviot countryside on a sunny day, seeing sheep and cattle on the hills and a heron swooping over the river. For some, for some it is the inner workings of the atom or the biological cell that really get them thinking. Or an animal like the platypus! It has the body of an otter, the tail of a beaver, and the mouth of a duck and it lays eggs! As someone once said, it’s made up of leftover parts. Pretty fascinating. We could go on and on and on with our lists of things about the natural world that astound and perplex us before we could even start with the things about human creativity and ingenuity that we find fascinating: The Pyramids of Giza. The Sistine Chapel. Shakespeare’s plays. Ethiopian long-distance runners. Or the things we encounter every day, as well. The kindness of strangers. The healing of old wounds. The sharing of stories that somehow inspire and encourage us to conquer fears and overcome obstacles. Stepping back momentarily from the grind of the day-to-day provides the soul with wonder and the mind with plenty to contemplate.
For the Psalmist, he looked to the heavens and gasped in sheer awe and felt so small. He expressed the insignificance of human beings – What is man that you are mindful of him? But then he goes on, ‘But you have raised him to little lower than the angels’. Faced with the immensity of the night sky, the psalmist questioned who he was, what his purpose was; he asked the big questions. The ancient peoples were no different. In a simpler, slower and a lot less digital age way back when, they pondered what the point of life was. In fact, they had stories about it all, stories that made space for belief and faith about the meaning of existence. But the Hebrews told of one God that created everything with order and meaning. Creation was no accident or by-product of cosmic warfare between rival deities, as some other stories had. In their stories creation was a careful, thought-out process. There was purpose and sequence. Things built upon each other. The God who was responsible for it all was intimately involved from the first all the way until things reached completion. And God pronounced it Good. It is not random or meaningless. It is not without value. Everything from the atoms to the platypus is the work of a loving and gracious Creator. Humans, which were the crowning piece of this God’s creative work, were not just declared good. They were pronounced very good. Male and female together, humans occupied a place in the order of creation that no other creature did. The Creator would not step back entirely once Creation was complete. In fact, creation would never really be complete all at the beginning, which is something the Hebrew people steadfastly maintained. It was and is an ongoing process, and God has made us in God’s own image that we may steward it and maintain it into the future.
However, we seem to get it wrong as humans and make a mess of things. We act in dreadful fashion towards our fellow creatures, become complacent towards the things that need to be changed, and when we make a mistake we utter “I’m only human!” forgetting that to be truly human actually means to be very good, crowned with glory and honour. It is only through this love in Jesus of Nazareth that we begin to understand just how good and perfect we were designed to be. In the person of Jesus, the God who creates descends in order to save and restore us. Made of the very stuff of God and yet also sharing our skin, Jesus comes to take up a part in the very creation that has become such a mess. He goes searching for every lost sheep and even dies on the cross of Calvary to save us and allow us to experience life in all its fullness.
The love that is poured out between God the Father Creator and God the Son Jesus is then bestowed upon the rest of humankind so that we may actually share it with each other and help complete the work that God began so long ago. This power, this life-giving love between Father and Son, is what we come to know as the Spirit, and it turns out we see the Spirit at the beginning, too, as God’s breath of love swirl and sweep over the waters to bring everything into existence.
Standing back and beholding all of creation’s grand story is certain to produce awe and endless fascination—the wonders of things like autumn foliage and the harvest of lambs and calves and crops…the complexity of Bach Brandenburg Concertos and the Hubble Telescope. God.
We can’t say we totally understand God or have in any way figured it all out, but when we are so bold to say God’s name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this is what we mean: We have been created in the image of God. That we have been redeemed by the Son of God. And that we may take part in God’s dreams of a world renewed, each in our own unique way, thanks to the ever-present Spirit of God. And by the power of that same Holy Spirit we may echo the story the ancient Hebrews gave us: Lord Almighty, you are good. You are very, very good. Thanks be to God!
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Eternal God, known to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as Majesty, Word, and Flame of eternal love, as one who creates, redeems, and sustains, bless these gifts we offer for Your glory, and make us into a people who work and yearn for your Kingdom to come.
God of creation, we praise you for the beauty, diversity and energy the earth, our wounded mother. We give thanks for the life of our planet, for its ecosystems and creatures, the vegetation, insects and animals with whom we share this our fragile habitat. Increase, O God, our understanding of creation, the wondrous ways in which You have knit our world together, give us a greater love for Your creation, that we may learn to live in harmony and peace with each other, and with our fellow creatures.
Suffering God, we lift to You today all who are in pain:
those living with the ache of grief,
those fleeing war, oppression, and poverty,
those whose burdens are too much for them,
those rejected and despised for how they live, who they love or what they are. Enable us, Suffering One, to help shoulder our share of pain, to work for a world where there will be no more suffering, crying, mourning, or oppression, a world where You dwell in our midst.
Holy Trinity of Love, we bring to you now, all those we know and love in any type of need or pain. Amen
Hymn 19 – Ye gates, lift up your heads on high
Hymn 113 – God the father of Creation