For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. For we are God’s artistry, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church (Sunday worship under one roof) Sunday, October 10th, 2021.

Ephesians 2:3-10 (NIV) (adapted for worship)

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s artistry, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Have you ever experienced living in a way that is self-gratifying and self-serving? Did such way of life result in hurtful consequence on those you love and care for? Sometimes we live in ways that gratify merely our selfish desires at the cost of others. We desire things that are wrong; we follow things that are foolish. At the worst of times, we gladly do so in full knowledge of the harmful consequences to others without even a sense of shame or guilt.

In Christ Jesus, we are saved from such ways of destruction, where our hearts are as dead as stones, our conscience as dead as a corpse. By his Grace, we are made alive. As we trust this God, our hearts and conscience desire and follow the way of life created in Christ Jesus from all eternity to be the instruments of God’s love for the world. This is the gift of life, the gift of faith, we are freely given to know who we are, who we are meant to be. To this, we are invited by our God of Jesus Christ. I invite you now to take a moment to reflect prayerfully. A slide will come up on the screen to guide you.

I invite you now to a time of prayerful reflection.

Prayerful Reflection:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. For we are God’s artistry, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Reflection song: Let your beauty by Margaret Rizza

Singing: “King of Glory, King of Peace”

Welcome and Notices:

Praying the Psalm:

In this part of the service we pray a psalm together. We listen in on the story from which the psalm arises in order to pray these words for us and for the world. We will pray Psalm 148 together. Before we do, let me paint the context for us.

This is a Psalm of praise. They praise God for what God has already done. They praise God, who created this world beautiful in all it’s majesty, diversity and wonder. They almost go through a list of all that has been created by God. It raises the question why? In the last stanza we realise that they are people under oppression, people seeking salvation. So in listing all that God has created for beauty, the people remind themselves of the God who has promised salvation for them is the Creator of all that is. In their hopelessness, they remind themselves that this God can surely save them. This God will save them, will make right all that has been wronged. They will themselves to remain faithful to this God the Creator, the Saviour, the Sustainer.

The people of God, what grieves you about the state of our world? What makes you lose hope for humanity for our world? What about the church? Does it seem impossible to be transformed? In our hopelessness, can we will ourselves to be encouraged. Can we will ourselves to once again find hope? Can we therefore will ourselves to persevere in the way of Jesus to be faithful to God who loves us? Can we name the things God has done already? May hope rise in us to praise him for what God will do! Let the men and women, young and old, praise him for what he has done and what he will indeed do from age to age!

Let us pray the psalm together. Please respond with the words in colour.

Psalm 148 (abridged and adapted for worship)

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!

You sea monsters and all deeps,
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars

Praise the Lord from the earth!

Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he created them all.

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.

He has raised up a trumpet for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
Praise the Lord!

 Prayer for Others

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.

 For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

Offering brought forward

Offering Prayer

Singing: “Kneels At the Feet of His Friends” 

Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Mark 10:13-16 New International Version

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Mark 10:13-16

13People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Sermon Reflection:

Every two years the General Assembly of PCANZ meets. During this time, a moderator is elected to lead the conversation and discussion. The Moderator of PCANZ brings to the church’s attention a theme for us to consider.

We will watch the sermon by the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Right Rev Hamish Galloway at his installation, opening service of the online 2021 General Assembly on 29 September.

The new Moderator’s theme is empowering the generations.

Questions to ponder

Who has been the significant person or community in your faith journey?
How did they empower you, what is the inheritance of faith they have left behind for you?
What can you do to empower the next generation?

Singing: “Praise My Soul”


The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with us all now and for evermore. Amen.