Heart of Worship (8) – Worship As Celebration

Reign of Christ Sunday

Today is the final Service in our Heart of Worship Series.  Before we move into Advent next week we come to the culmination of our Heart of Worship theme on this Reign of Christ Sunday.  This is the last Sunday in the liturgical year and its emphasis is about the celebration of Christ’s reign that is complete and whole.  Surely THAT is what the Heart of Worship really is all about – the complete reign of Christ. 

Over these past few months we have been exploring Worship on a number of levels.  We looked at the context of Worship from a Biblical, theological, experiential, practical and experimental point of view.  We’ve had services in the round and in small groups, we’ve been on a weekend camp (for everyone), taken our shoes off on holy ground, sung hymns and songs from the past and present and worshipped with music from many musical streams in our Hymn-a-long.  We’ve looked at themes such as prayer, trust, and thanksgiving, lament; worship in spirit and in truth, and worship as God’s Manifesto.  We began our Biblical exploration in Genesis and worked through the scriptures focusing on a number of the Psalms as we looked at themes such as prayer, trust, lament and community.   We’ve been informed about the wider work of the Uniting Church through Frontier Services and how it provides for worship in remote and isolated areas and communities in Australia.  We’ve completed an Alpha course, extended ourselves to the community through a fashion parade in a funeral chapel and a Magic of Music presentation. Our regular programs of small groups, Friday Playgroup, Kids Hope Aus Mentoring at Ashmore State School and JAM Club are all integrally linked to the Heart of Worship that calls us together in Christian Community.  The ministry of the Op Shop continues to flourish as the church responds to its vision to be “Reaching out, changing lives”. Isn’t that worship? 

The second of our six values at Ashmore Uniting Church is – Authentic Worship.  When Dr. Jill Gray led us through our visioning process several years ago, our congregation agreed that we didn’t want to be labeled ‘traditional’ or ‘charismatic’ in our style of worship services.  We wanted to be a Church that experiences Authentic Worship not just during our few hours on a Sunday, but we wanted the Ashmore Uniting Church to experience Authentic Worship every day of the week as a response to WHO we are IN CHRIST.  We wanted our Sunday church services to be a celebration that is inclusive of all people, adults, children and young people.  We wanted the congregation to be socially mixed, full of people from different ethnic backgrounds and different denominational experiences.  We wanted to be a Welcoming friendship (our first value) where people who have never been to Church can come in and by welcomed into God’s family.  We wanted to see God Transforming people (our sixth value) by Spirit led serving (our fourth value) and Creative outreach (our fifth value).  All this can only happen if we have Empowering Leadership (our third value).

For some, who have only recently arrived at Ashmore Uniting Church, these values may not yet have been discovered, but I hope that as you add your flavor to The Church of The Good Shepherd, you will become part of  (Our Vision) A loving church, focused on the Gospel of Christ:-

  • reaching out
  • meeting needs
  • equipping people for service

Today is Reign of Christ Sunday.  Let the Heart of Worship be a Celebration of who God is and what God has done through Jesus Christ.  Following on from Ralph’s theme last week (Worship as Manifesto) and the words of Isaiah the prophet 750 years before Christ “For I am about to do a new thing.  See I have already begun… (Isaiah 43:19) we come to Revelation 21:5-7 “behold I make ALL things new….It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end.  To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge!  All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God and they will be my children”.

May this week be filled with Authentic Worship as Christ reaches out and changes you…Rev Brad Foote

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