Welcome to all who have joined us today and welcome to our summer series in which we are exploring ‘Healing and Renewal – Where does it come from?’
In previous weeks we looked at renewal coming though challenging ourselves and sometimes others.
We also looked at renewal and healing happening when we realise that movement is life and static behaviour is death.
Renewal also occurs when we rediscover what it is that sustains us and reinvigorates us in our faith journey.
We do indeed come before you this day with our wounds, our deficiencies, our sorrows. We have also come with our joys and our strengths and our worship.
We come here, because we know that you are not only the one who promises, where two or more are gathered in my name I am there with them, but you are also the great strengthener, healer and renewer of body, mind and spirit.
Today we proclaim it again in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Where does Healing & Renewal Come From?
Renewal often comes about when we become creative, seek new ways, be innovative – when we are willing to explore and be bold when we are willing to let the possibility of failure be part of our forward planning, when we focus not on lack but on blessings, when we not only challenge ourselves or our church, but we are willing to accept ourselves and the limitedness of our sometimes very human church.
There are many passages in the Bible about seeking, trying new paths, accepting our lack and God’s strength – to trust in the one who says ‘all things work for good for those who trust in the Lord’.
Here are our first two readings:
Matthew 7:7-14 & 2 Corinthians 3:4-5
Where does the creative spirit come from – from God herself. Let’s think about God as Creator and Poet as he and we can co-create new tunes for a world in despair.
On your tables discuss one of these three options
- When has risky behaviour strengthened you or someone else you know on their faith journey?
- What does the narrow path look like for you?
- When has your own incompetence worked into God’s plan?
The second factor in healing and renewing today is very much linked to the first – it is about being open to the Spirit’s leading – often in new and innovative and risky ways.
John 1:40-51 & John 14:15-17 & 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
13 It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
John 1:40-51 was very important in Thea and my decision to come to Kiama-Jamberoo more than five years ago. The Spirit was willing me, even though my flesh was weak.
Now we are going to invite Morgan and Olivia up here to tell us a little about the Spirit working in their lives to create a new opportunity. (about to train for church leadership in the Middle East)
Guest Speakers: Olivia and Morgan
- Firstly, can you outline what mission opportunity you are about to undertake?
- How did the Spirit prompt/move you in your decision making?
- Where do you find your inner strength?
Prayer of Blessing over them
Lord of the harvest, protect your workers.
Shield them from: danger, disease, deceit, delusion, divisions, diversions, denial, and demonic oppression.
Keep them hopeful in times of disappointment and discouragement – those unavoidable realities that build character and faith.
Give them determination to glorify you, whatever the cost.
Affirmation of Faith
In the light of our discussion today, let us say this affirmation of faith as a responsive.
It was written by Rev. Sean Gilbert for the 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia and it speaks of a God who is creative, one who has risked all for us, a God who is compassionate when we fail her and a God who calls us all forward.
We believe in God, the wise Creator, who rules as does the sun by day
and the moon by night:
Light to warm our skin,
radiance to calm all fears
and hope to move our hearts
in ways of costly love.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the wise Redeemer
Who reigns not by force nor by might,
but who leads by example:
The One who gives all
for the sake of a new world
in which justice and compassion
will finally heal the broken-hearted
and give rest to a weary earth.
And we believe in the Spirit, the wise Counsellor
Who draws us out of our diminished selves,
speaking words of deep affirmation
and encouraging us forward
into the compassionate way and being of Christ.
We are friends of God!
We are the Body of Christ!
We are the people of the Spirit!
We give our hearts, minds and hands
to the new world of God’s making.
We are companions on the journey, breaking bread and sharing life and the love we bear is the hope we share for we believe in the love of our God.
So may your inner and outer journeys reflect the loving, graceful and giving nature of our God who goes with each and every one of us.