WELCOME AND PRAYER
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.
LISTENING TO THE WORD
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSSION
CONFESSING CHRIST FROM THE BASIS OF UNION
Within this fellowship of the Uniting Church in Australia, and as part of the Christian church around the world, let us confess Christ in the following words from the Basis of Union.
Today we ‘confess Jesus as Lord over (our) own life’ and ‘Head over all things, the beginning of a new creation, of a new humanity’.
We rejoice that the Uniting Church ‘preaches Christ the risen crucified One
and confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father’.
Let us proclaim ‘the grace which justifies through faith,’
and uphold ‘the centrality of the person and work of Christ the justifier’.
We joyously proclaim that ‘in Jesus Christ "God was reconciling the world to himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19 RSV)’,
and that ‘in love for the world, God gave the Son to take away the world's sin.’
We confess that ‘Christ…is the Word of the God who acquits the guilty,
who gives life to the dead and who brings into being what otherwise could not exist.’
Let us reaffirm our desire ‘to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church’.
We joyously ‘acknowledge that Christ alone is supreme in his Church’ and declare our ‘readiness to go forward together in sole loyalty to Christ the living Head of the Church’.
We acknowledge ‘the need for a constant appeal to Holy Scripture’,
and declare ourselves ready to ‘hear anew the commission of the Risen Lord to make disciples of all nations’.
With the gracious help of God our congregations are committed to serve the world for which Christ died, and…await with hope the day of the Lord Jesus Christ
on which it will be clear that the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of the Christ, who shall reign for ever and ever.’ Amen.
Nb. The words in quotation marks are direct quotes from the Basis of Union
Prepared by Rev Rod James.