Opening Worship & Installation of President

7.30pm, Sunday 12 July 2015 Dickinson Centre, Scotch College, Swanbourne, Perth

Call to Worship (written by Rev Cathie Lambert)

2 voices off stage – based on Exodus 3

Both:  This place for us is Holy ground.

1:       This is the place where we gather and sing songs of praise to our God.

2:       This is the place where we hear stories of faith and respond to Christ’s love.

1:       God calls us here in whispering winds and burning flames.

2:       God meets us in our vulnerability and our humanity.

Both:  Let us worship God.

 

Prayer of Adoration (written by Rev Lorraine Stokes)

Youthful representatives and Multicultural members come forward bringing coloured cloths to form the landscape on the stage. Music – All Natural (4 minutes) from Seasons Vol 2. 4 voices to read prayer. Cloths – Green, Ochre, Red, White, Yellow, Purple

 

1:       Lord, we give thanks for the vastness of this land.

2:       Those wonderful open spaces that tell of the glory of your creation.

3:       The freedom of open space that can break us into joyful dance.

4:       The colours which give meaning to the everyday aspects of life.

 

1:       We give thanks for the redness of the earth.

2:       – the sense of birth and place it gives us.

3:       – the richness of the soil to support life, when rain springs forth life from previously barren land.

4:       – the fruitfulness which yields grain and supports flocks and herds.

 

1:       We give thanks for the green of plant life

2:       – the shade of towering gums

3:       – the plants which provide food

4:       – the beauty of seeing green stretch before our eyes to far horizons.

 

1:       We give thanks for the colours of the earth

2:       – the ochres and coppers which enrich the soil

3:       – the yellows of life and living

4:       – the purple hues of distant mountains

 

1:       Most of all we give thanks for the clear white that tells us of you,

2:       our Creator,

3:       the Light of the world,

4:       the Spirit of Life.

All:     Amen.

 

Confession (written by Rev Lorraine Stokes)

Lord we come before you aware of

our humanness,

our vulnerability,

our tendency to stray from your light.

 

We confess the times when our heart grows cold.

Too easily we stray from your ways

and forget to offer the welcome and love

which you have shown to us.

 

We confess the times when our outlook has been dark.

When we have failed to see you at work

in our church and our communities

and when we have failed to join you

in bringing in your kingdom to this world.

 

Brighten our lives Lord.

Renew the fires of our love that they might burn within us and around us.

Free us to live in your love and to live out your love. Amen.

 

Assurance of Forgiveness – based on Psalm 89: 14-17a (written by Rev Lorraine Stokes)

In Psalm 89 we read, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;

love and faithfulness go before you.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,

who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.

They rejoice in your name all day long;

they exult in your righteousness.

For you are their glory and strength.”

 

My friends, in Christ we have been given the light of life.

Let the fires of your life burn brightly.

 

You are loved, you are forgiven, you are free.

Thanks be to God.

 

Prayer for Illumination (written by Rev Cathie Lambert)

Come, Holy Spirit, fire of God.

Our hearts long for your warmth.

As we hear the Scriptures, brought to us afresh,

open our ears to hear your voice

and burn the chaff of our lives

that we may bear the fruit of your love.

May we be able to say together,

“Were not our hearts burning as the Scriptures were opened to us?”

Amen.

 

Affirmation of Faith (written by Rev Dr Ian Tozer)

We believe in God
who is constantly creating —
who, at the beginning of time,
brought forth light
which can never be overcome.

We trust in God
whose light pervades all creation,
touches every place and gives light to every people.

We believe in God
who kindled the fires of faith
in Abraham and Sarah
Calling them to venture into unknown futures.

We trust in God
who renewed the sparks of faith
by leading Israel out of slavery and wilderness wandering
to a place of new beginnings —
led by Moses and celebrated by Miriam.

We believe in God
who, again and again,
renewed the covenant
through prophets and leaders,
countless faithful individuals
who tended the eternal flame
and handed on the fires of faith.

We trust in God, who,
when the lights waned and the fires burned low,
blew on the embers and coaxed forth sparks,
nurtured the fires until the light burned again.

We believe in God, who,
as light that can never be overcome,
took flesh and became incarnate
in Jesus of Nazareth,
preacher of good news,
obedient servant of God,
crucified and risen One.

We trust in God
the eternal Holy Spirit
who comes forth continually to call forth faith,
to teach us to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ,
who came in the fire of Pentecost,
inspiring words and deeds of faith and love
so that we might be witnesses to the eternal God
in every place and time.

We believe and trust in God
who is with us always,
speaking, inspiring, leading, loving,
so that the light will shine continually
and the fires of faith might be kindled and re-kindled
until our hearts are on fire
and we respond to the call
to go forward together in faith into new futures,
to re-light flickering embers,
to start the fires of faith in new people, new places, and new ways;
resolving to renew our covenant with God again and again,
constantly glorifying our Creator, celebrating Christ,
in the joy and renewal of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Prayers of the People (written by Rev Cathie Lambert)

Read by President’s chaplains and Chair of Congress Assembly. People saying Lord’s Prayer light candles from the Christ candle and go into the congregation to begin the lighting of candles. Lights to dim as candles are lit.

 

1:       Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,

but will have the light of life.”

Let us bring before God our prayers

for our world, our country and the church.

As we do so let us take the light and share it

as a sign of our commitment to bringing the light to others.

 

2:       Creator God, we pray for the whole creation;

For the parched earth, the rising seas,

May all things work together for good

and your children learn to be good stewards of this earth.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

3:       God of relationships, we pray for reconciliation and justice;

For those who know discrimination, abuse and disrespect,

May all people, the first peoples of this land

and those who have come more recently seeking refuge,

know love and compassion.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

4:       God of the nations, we pray for healing and peace;

For places where ancient hate smoulders,

and conflict and violence reign,

May wholeness and restoration be the words on each person’s lips,

creating communities of love and care.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

1:       Spirit of God, we pray for your church in every place;

For communities, large and small, who struggle to be your people,

May they be true, engaging and active doing your will.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

2:       Living God, we pray for the 14th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia;

For Stuart, its President,

Terence, its secretary,

for the members and all who are members of committees.

May your Spirit be discerned and your love made known in all that they do and say.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

3:       Intimate God, we pray for ourselves and those close to us;

For those who are sick, in pain or lonely,

May enjoy one another’s company

and forgive as freely as we are forgiven in your amazing grace.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

 

4:       Look around.

The light shines in the darkness

and the darkness shall not overcome it.

Let us join together in the prayer that Jesus taught us.

You are encouraged to pray in the language or version that you are most comfortable.

We will be led by Cheryl Lawson, representing the First peoples, praying in Nyungar,

along with other language representatives.

 

Blessing/ Words of Mission

Watch carefully. I am going to change the light. Do you see how the light as it is here can only be at one place at one time? Watch carefully as I change the light…

snuffer is used to put out the flame and collect some smoke before it is turned upside down to allow the smoke to escape and dissipate – move your hand gently through the smoke as it is said…

Look! Do you see how the light is changing, spreading out, getting thinner and thinner until you can’t see it anymore? The light has changed. You can change your light too. I invite you to blow out your candle and allow the light to fill the room. It is no longer in one place at one time. Now the light is all around us. Now the light is everywhere.

 

Go into the world keeping the flame of life alive

Brighten the lives of the lost

Warm the hearts of the despairing

And encourage the hearts of the faithful to burn with love for others.

 

And may God be our companion,

Christ Jesus walk before us

and the Spirit surround us with a cloud of grace.

Amen.

 

Dorothy McRae-McMahon