Come to worship God
who has come through events
interpreted by faith.
who comes in love
to serve you now.
Come to worship God
who will come to complete
what already has begun.
By the Spirit of God
* * *
He’s full of surprises is our God.
Turns up in the most unexpected places
and times. Even when you know
he’s coming, he takes you by surprise.
Jesus told his disciples to be like sentries
on duty in hostile territory or motorist
on a long and lonely road driving
the family through the night. You
never know when a `roo will bound out
into the headlights or the soft darkness
of the open road will give way to solid braman,
horse or irremovable ghost-gum tree.
Alert, careful, responsible, he calls us,
although we do not know when it will happen,
to live in daily expectation of Christ’s
completing hour, the conclusion of our day.
* * *
SIGNS OF HIS MESSIANIC MIGHT
The blind see,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead live,
and the poor are evangelised
Go back and tell what
you have seen and heard.
That is enough.
The poor evangelised,
the broken-hearted consoled,
prisoners freed –
the day of the Lord is here.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you did not avoid the wilderness,
the loneliness of the inner struggle,
the risk of being misunderstood.
You knew what it was to be hungry.
You heard the world cry out in pain.
You knew the human fascination
with strange and marvellous events
You knew both tempting lust for power
and the giddy heights of fame.
So we see you as a brother
who knows our inner turmoil,
who knows our need and name.
HOSANNA, SING HOSANNA
a hymn for Palm Sunday. Suggested tune, Ellacombe)
‘Hosanna!’ Sing ‘Hosanna’. Let all the people sing
for Jesus Christ our Saviour is come a servant king.
His riding on a donket declared this royal state.
With power of love he rules us. For this the people wait.
So tell the message loudly to all who will now hear
that God is not a tyrant invoking pain and fear.
God rises upon a donkey into our lives today
in an extended action of what he did that day.
Come, ride your beast of burden into my heart, I pray.
Come, Jesus, humble ruler and change my selfish way,
so I’ll be more like you, Lord, in my humility.
My strength I’ll use in service for all humanity.
An Uneasy Ride
(A Meditation on the Palm Sunday Story)
If you’re looking for a comfortable seat
don’t sit on the back of a nervous,
untried donkey treading its way
downhill, over rutted, pebble-strewn pathway,
surrounded by excited, shouting crowds,
aware that the commotion might bring down
the wrath of the occupation forces,
and under the faces of frowning fanatics
whose fear and abhorrence will soon turn to murder.
Not on the towering majesty of a prancing charger,
nor with the armed security of a war general’s chariot
but on the back of a bone-jarring ass
he rides into town in display of his power.
By washing of water and the touch of his hand,
by my feeble faith which responds to his call
I’m identified closely with the one on the colt,
I ride all exposed to the danger of falling,
the sniper’s dread missile, the threat of harsh vengeance.
The lurching, the swaying, the stalling and quivver
of flanks wet with fear – I feel them all strongly
as I ride on with him in strange, silent procession
through the wild adulation of those who want God
to work for their causes, the glowering glances
of powerful tradition, the towering heights
of political fear. I’d rather sit in a comfortable chair
with cushions and armrests and footstool as well,
but here I am riding precariously
on the back of a donkey that’s trudging its way
into the city of pride and of fear.
Will you come with me?
(A hymn for use on the evening before Good Friday when we remember Jesus meeting with his disciples for the Last Supper.Has been sung to the old tune by Thomas Dennis, 167 in Alexander’s Hymns No.3.)
Will you come with me to the crowded room
where Jesus broke the bread,
where he gave to you and he gave to me
the signs of his wounds that bled ?
He stands as the gentle leader of all,
the Saviour whom God kindly sent,
and signals us with the bread and the wine
to follow the way he went.
Will you share with me in the bread he gives
and love that knows no end?
We are one in him as we eat and drink
along with our faithful Friend.
Will you hold me firm when I start to fall
and show me Christ instead?
For the way of Christ is before us set
en-signed by this wine and bread.
Will you go with me as we leave this room,
divergent though our ways?
With my feet washed clean by his humble hands
I’ll serve you throughout my days.
Cross and Crucifixion
A Meditation on the Cross
Olivewood or coconut,
ebony or fir,
crosses spring up everywhere:
wildflowers after rain
carrying on the strain
hybridized at Calvary
by nailing hands
and scoffing tongues,
God’s greatest pain.
Beneath a eucalyptus cross
I stand and feel
fresh tear drops –
or is it blood? –
love-sap flowing still,
as others have been soaked
in other times
in God’s great healing flow.
But there’s another cross
of a different kind of wood.
It’s growing on the hillside
of my inner, own terrain.
Thought it’s almost choked
by spreading weeds
I know that its’ s till there
I feel its gentle stirring
The Suffering of Christ
Forgive us, Lord, for taking cheaply what you obtained for us at such great cost.
Forgive us, Lord, for causing you continued pain as we depart from your clear way.
Forgive us, Lord, for trying to avoid the challenge of your love.
Life is filled with colour:
dark brown smudges, yellow patches,
garden green and sunny blue.
But we’re intrigued about the red
that trickles down the canvas
from the Artist’s nail-pierced hand.
We worship you.
At first it looked like more
of that terrible carnage
that we see upon the screen,
but now we see it glowing
with the warmest touch of love
and we are stirred to praise you
for the lengths that you’e prepared to go.
We worship you.
A Prayer for Beginning Worship
Bursting every confining band
Jesus comes in risen power
to lead us in a celebration
of life and liberty.
No death could silence you,
no rock could hold you,
no lie deny you.
We worship you, Christ our Lord.
A Prayer of Confession
Forgive us, Lord,
that we so often have sought you,
the living God,
among the dead –
dead rituals, dead traditions,
dead rules, dead hearts, dead lives.
as you came to our brothers and sisters
on that first Easter Day,
risen and victorious,
and breathe life into
our ritual and our tradition,
our rules, our hearts, our lives.
A Prayer for Beginning Worship
God, our Creator, who is bringing to completion all that you have made,
hear our prayer.
As the Apostles went back to Jerusalem from the experiences of the Ascension and gave themselves to prayer, we too await the baptism of your Spirit.
Accept us and our worship, not because of any right we have, but as those who would be Christ’s sisters and brothers in faith.
Accept us in him and lead us in our worship. Amen.
May the Spirit of God uphold you, keep you.
May the Spirit of Christ be in you, guide you.
May God the Holy Spirit use you in his service
as he has equipped you, blessed you.
Go in peace, and go in God.