Lectionary -- Ordinary 15  Year A

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Genesis 25:19-34 Jacob and Esau
Psalm 119:105-112 Your word is a lamp to my feet
Or 119:1-8 Happy are those who walk in the law of the Lord
Romans 8:1-11 No condemnation to those who are in Christ
Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 The parable of the sower

Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
Send forth by God's blessing TIS 531 SA 76
What shall I do my God to love TIS 122 AHB 50
For the beauty of the earth TIS 137 AHB 77
Breathe on me breath of God TIS 407 AHB 320
Come, Holy Ghost [Spirit], our hearts inspire AHB 331
Come, Holy Ghost [Spirit], our souls inspire TIS 396 AHB 308
Help us, O Lord, to learn TIS 428 AHB 340
Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us TIS 580 AHB 492

Sermon summary (for complete sermon click here)

Flesh and Spirit

What do you think? Is human nature inclined towards God? Or, is it opposed? Do you think the basic life-force of humanity seeks union with its Creator, or separation?

These are basic issues, affecting our attitudes on many other questions. For example, what do you make of the popular psychology of self actualization, or the human potential movement? What do you make of the resurgence of paganism in Western society, in which what were once called primitive religions are being explored and attempts are made to revive pagan religious practices? Do you think that people might also be seeking something for themselves, some secret knowledge, long hidden, buried under a load of Christian beliefs in a previously dominant culture? If you think there is value in secret knowledge, in human spirituality and its affinity with natural things; and if you think that the ancient nature religions are a source of hope for humanity, then you share a great deal with the people amongst whom the early Christians lived.

When Paul contrasts being 'in the flesh' and being 'in the Spirit' he points to something in human nature that is opposed to God as well as a capacity for accepting a loving relationship with God: (Romans 8:7a,8). He does recognize a desire to please God, but sees it as a rather hopeless desire (Romans 7:18-20). So it is a little more complex than human nature either seeking God or being opposed.

People in the West in recent times have generally welcomed talk of undisciplined spirituality which builds on the essential goodness of human nature and its potential, while they dismiss talk of sin as old fashioned, negative and limiting. History never repeats itself, but they say "Human nature doesn't change". Some certainly have cried out with Paul, (Romans 7:24) Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?, and have later exclaimed with him (Romans 7:25a Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! That is the context for Paul's teaching about flesh and Spirit in Romans Chapter 8, which he introduces, not with despair born of failure, but the opposite (Romans 8:1-2); it is only given with that message of hope (Romans 8:5-6; 14-17)

Much the same understanding of the liberating power of the Spirit of God, and the same contrast of being 'in the Spirit' compared with being 'in the flesh' is found John's gospel (John 3:5-7; 6:63). So the question becomes, do you listen to the words of Jesus? For Paul as for John, coming under the influence of the Spirit was a matter of faith, or trust in Christ, of being 'in Christ', of belonging to him and being within his sphere of influence. Then we can rejoice with him:(Romans 8:1-2).

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Ordinary 15 (Pentecost 7) Year A - Order of Service
The Gathering of the People of God
Let us worship God, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. (Psalms 119:105)

HYMN What shall I do my God to love TIS 122 AHB 50

GREETING [Uniting in Worship p.58]

Mighty and merciful God, we meet to celebrate your greatness.
We join with the hosts of heaven to sing your praise and to offer you worship.
For you are worthy of adoration from every mouth,
and every tongue should praise you.
You created the earth by your power; you save the human race by your mercy; and make it new by your grace.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we offer you our grateful praise.
Most merciful God we confess that we have sinned against you and our neighbour. We have taken great benefits with little thanks and we have been more ready to insist upon our rights than to see the needs of others. Have mercy and forgive us, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. -- 1 Timothy 1:15
Hear then Christ's word of grace to us: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

DOXOLOGY: Gloria in Excelsis

Service of the Word

FIRST READING Genesis 25:19-34 Jacob and Esau
PSALM 119:105-112 Your word is a lamp to my feet
EPISTLE Romans 8:1-11 No condemnation to those who are in Christ
GOSPEL Matthew 13:1-9,18-23 The parable of the sower

HYMN Breathe on me breath of God TIS 407 AHB 320


SHARING TIME [Notices, Celebrations and requests for intercessions]
In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.
For all people in their daily life and work;
for our families, friends and neighbours, and for those who are alone.
For this community, our country, and the world;
for all who work for justice, freedom and peace.
For the just and proper use of your creation;
for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice and oppression.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
for those who minister to the sick, the friendless and the needy.
For the peace and unity of the Church of God;
for all who proclaim the gospel, and for all seek the truth.
For the Uniting Church in Australia,
for ..., President of the Assembly,
... , Moderator of the Synod,
and for .... our Chairperson of Presbytery, ... Presbytery Minister,
for elders and members of the parish council,
and for all who hold office in this congregation;
for all who serve God in the church.
For our own needs, and for others for whom you have called us to pray.

Hear us, Lord
for your mercy is great.
We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of life.

We exalt you, O God our king;
and praise your name for ever and ever.
We give thanks for all those who have died in the peace of Christ, and for the promise of your eternal kingdom.
In Christ you have called us to eternal glory;
to you be praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray (to be faithful to the light we have received, and to the name we bear):
Father, let the light of your truth guide us to your kingdom through a world filled with lights contrary to your own. Christian is the name and the gospel we glory in. May your love make us what you have called us to be; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lord's Supper


HYMN Come, Holy Spirit, our souls inspire TIS 396 AHB 308

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Thanks and praise ..... in the eternal hymn: [SA 100c and 100d]
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
We thank you ....
[The great prayer of thanksgiving continues, recalling God's goodness in caring for his people, the life and saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ, how he commanded his disciples to remember him with the bread and the wine, and we pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit on us and what we do.]
THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of hymn book]

THE LAMB OF GOD [Sing Alleluia 100e]
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.


The Sending Forth of the People of God

 HYMN For the beauty of the earth TIS 137 AHB 77

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.
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