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Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Hallelujah! How good it is to sing praises to our God! how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Isaiah 40:21-31
00:00 / 03:22

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Corinthians 9:16-23
00:00 / 02:12

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint Mark.

Mark 1:29-39
00:00 / 02:16

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Bringers and Watchers
00:00 / 11:21

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon Epiphany 5, 4th Feb 2024

Take my lips O God and speak through them, take our minds O God and think through them, take our hearts O God and love through them this day. <Amen>

The verb “TO CONGREGATE” describes gathering together. A crowd quickly “CONGREGATES” at the scene of an accident; under harsh military rule, citizens are often forbidden to “CONGREGATE” on the streets. However a “CONGREGATION” is generally people who come together for a religious purpose - be that in-person or virtually using modern technology.

Every CONGREGATION, large or small, has its own personality BUT we can always divide CONGREGATIONS as having two basic types of people - - - there are “BRINGERS” and “WATCHERS”.

Following on from last week’s gospel, Jesus is still in Capernaum, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and, having left the synagogue, he went to Simon Peter and Andrew’s home. Soon a crowd of people CONGREGATED at the door. “The whole town” in fact and “many sick and demon possessed people were brought to Jesus.”

As the sun set it signalled the end of the holy Sabbath day and people began to go about their business. So this particular Sabbath ended and people began to CONGREGATE around Jesus.

The news about Jesus teaching and healing at the Synagogue that morning had spread quickly and that’s why people began to CONGREGATE around Him.

Remember I just said that every CONGREGATION has its own personality. There were, no doubt, people from all walks of life present that evening: fishermen, carpenters, farmers and sheep herders, craftsmen, perhaps Roman soldiers, domestic servants and masters with slaves, religious leaders from the temples, and there were probably prostitutes, and thieves and pick pockets, and beggars, and there were the diseased, the sick and dying. People of all ages, race, colour, national origin. The wealthy, the working class, the poor, the least of the least. <PAUSE>

There were “BRINGERS” and there were “WATCHERS” … let me explain.

“THE BRINGERS”: Mark tells us that “many sick and demon-possessed were brought to Jesus”. The people who brought the sick and the demon-possessed did so because THEY BELIEVED IN JESUS. Those people knew that Jesus did not merely read Scripture but that he interpreted it with authority. They believed that Jesus was the representative of God.

In “THE BRINGERS” we see the heart of a disciple in that he\she IS “A BRINGER”, and ... “A BRINGER” … brings others.

People bringing themselves to Jesus, people bringing other people to Jesus, THAT is what is at the heart of what it means to be God’s church. <PAUSE>

Also at its heart, today’s relatively short gospel passage, reveals Jesus’ mission and the mission of His disciples (both then and now) - it’s three words: PRAY PREACH HEAL

Jesus sends his disciples out with this mission to reach those that still live in darkness and bring them into the light, bring them to salvation. Jesus wants “BRINGERS” <PAUSE>

“THE WATCHERS”: Mark tells us that “The whole town gathered at the door to watch”.

Something that I need to really stress here is that Jesus offers something to EVERYONE in any CONGREGATION. Some he healed. Some he prayed for. Some he taught what love, grace, tolerance, mercy and forgiveness REALLY look like ... and He still does!

Watchers are curious people, they have come to look, to listen and to learn. We all started on your journey with Christ as WATCHERS.

Yet, after meeting the real Jesus, we are changed, we are born anew, and Jesus wants us to go out and become BRINGERS.

This means we MUST reach out to our community to make people want to CONGREGATE around Jesus.

My mission, YOUR mission as disciples of Christ is to get people to come and watch, and:


Through the power of the Holy Spirit WE will carry the Good News beyond the walls of the rooms where we are and out into the lives of our friends and neighbours, into the community, into the world.

Many in the CONGREGATION that evening at Simon and Andrew’s house took Jesus home that day.

The BRINGERS took home the blessing of having brought someone to Jesus. They took home the joy of knowing they had helped make a difference and be part of the healing and changing of someone’s life.

A seed was planted in the eyes of the WATCHERS. They saw the hospitality. They saw the healing. They saw the love and forgiveness, and the mercy and the grace. That made them think about what was missing in their own life.

Would you define yourself, at this moment in time, more as “BRINGER” or more as a “WATCHER”?

Either way, as a “bringer to Jesus” or as “a watcher of Jesus”, wherever you are on your journey with Christ .. to God will be the glory.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, Ko te Matua, me te Wairua tapu. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

Everliving God, our creator and redeemer, You love us and know us better than we know ourselves. With a word, you created all things and so we pray that You will hear the words of Your children as we pray; giving thanks to You for Your world and its peoples - all the “bringers to” and “watchers of” our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Mighty God, we pray for all Your people in their communities across the world in all their wonderful diversity.  We pray especially for those who worship alone or congregate in difficult and dangerous circumstances. May they feel Your abiding presence to uphold their courage and strengthen their faith.  

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Creator God we pray for Your world and its peoples with all their needs, questions and longings.  So often we struggle to understand the reasons behind the many inhumane acts of violence that continue to occur; and yet we know that in the midst of such events Your love is shown in the acts of bravery, selflessness and compassion which follow. We pray for all who suffer in such dreadful circumstances and for those who are tasked with rescue, providing the medical and community support and, eventually, in the long task of reconstruction.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Loving God we pray for those in need in our own community, the sick and the dying, the elderly, the housebound and those in care homes, hospitals and hospices and for the work and devotion of those who care for them.  We thank you for Carers whose love and compassion bring both material and spiritual comfort at times of need.

We especially raise before you now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God be close to those who feel the pain of grief at the loss of a loved one whether recent or as each anniversary passes. Help us to support all those who mourn with our prayers, with words of comfort and with practical help as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.

May all the faithful departed now rest in peace as they most surely have risen in glory to spend eternity in unison with The Risen Christ.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, our authority along the way, in a moment of silence we place before You our personal prayers for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy to bring people to You.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Send us out into the coming week to live the Good News.  Give us the will each day to live in life eternal. Let our citizenship be in heaven with the whole company of the redeemed and with countless angels, praising, worshipping and adoring him who sits upon the throne forever and ever.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:

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 for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:


God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and


The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.


Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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