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2nd Sunday after Pentecost : 11th June 2023

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):

You O Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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

God of liberation, you free us from the chains that bind us; may you re-clothe us in our rightful mind, and send us to share your love with those around us; through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Isaiah 42:10-20
00:00 / 02:47

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Acts 10:34-43
00:00 / 02:49

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 Matthew
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Matthew :9-13,18-26
00:00 / 02:31

Listen to David speak to this gospel
(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Unconditional Love Of Christ.
00:00 / 09:01

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

Sermon Ordinary 10, 11th June 2023

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

In these gospel extracts today, the calling of Matthew, the controversy about eating with tax collectors and sinners, the healing of the daughter of the leader of the synagogue, and the afflicted woman are linked together. The connection is that they are stories about Jesus and outsiders.

The tax collectors were the ultimate outsiders in the Israel of Jesus’ day. They were seen traitors who collected taxes for the Romans. Everyone hated them. They agreed to deliver the tax that was required for their district but they collected more than the Romans demanded and kept the excess for themselves. As a result, most tax collectors got rich on the basis of bribery and extortion.

Jesus calling a tax collector to be his disciple and then eating with tax collectors and other sinners was HIGHLY controversial. They were “outsiders” it’s unthinkable that a rabbi would call a tax collector as a disciple.

The shock of this challenges us with the exceptional, extraordinary, unconditional love that Jesus brings.

The woman who touched Jesus garment was also an outsider because she had a haemorrhage of blood for twelve years. She was ritually unclean. She could not have any normal social interaction with people. She could not go to the synagogue or have a meal with anyone outside the family. No one could touch her, sit on anything that she had touched, or eat from dishes that she had used. Being unclean like this for twelve years was a sentence of condemnation not unlike solitary confinement in a modern prison.

For Jesus the woman touching Him, made him unclean according to the law.

The possibility was that Jesus would realise what she had done, rebuke her and tell her to get away from him. Jesus ignores this and, instead, He blesses her and addresses her as a daughter. The climax is that the woman is healed after Jesus’ blessing

The shock of this challenges us with the exceptional, extraordinary, unconditional love that Jesus brings.

The same is true in the raising of the synagogue elder’s daughter. The synagogue leader begs Jesus to come and lay His hands on his dead daughter.

This story also involves Jesus’ attitudes toward a strict interpretation of the law. Anyone who touched a dead body other than a close relative was made unclean. When Jesus took her by the hand, there was the possibility of His contracting uncleanness.

Jesus declared that she was only sleeping but everyone else including her father thought she had died. Jesus taking her by the hand was then a possible violation of the law. Jesus demonstrates a disregard for this strict interpretation of the law and obeys the greater laws of love and compassion.

In each of these stories, Jesus saw the situation, He acted, people were made well, and it didn’t matter that they were “outsiders” - deemed traitors, unclean, dead - - - Jesus responds to all - - - that’s it!

Jesus breaks through all legal constraints for the sake of the people He encounters.

What then do these stories reveal about God? The truth is that Jesus is making clear God’s priorities. God is reaching out to those on the other side of the boundaries set by the prevailing norms in the culture and the law.

JESUS REQUIRES MERCY, NOT SACRIFICE.

Jesus’ inclusion of tax collectors, sinners, and those who are “unclean” in His love, care and healing power is a sign of God’s Kingdom and ongoing activity in our world today.

These stories challenge us to consider the ways WE too might reach out to those who are considered “outsiders” by our societies norms.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu. <AMINE>
In the name of God, 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":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
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:

Almighty God, we ask you guide your people especially when differences amongst us seem to threaten our very existence. We face each other, but often do not see the face. We too easily make “an other” of one another. Help us now to look again, to see Jesus in the face and to recognise hopes, aspirations and desires. <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.

Creator God, we are part of the tensions and injustices of the world: heal the resentment between people, and intervene in the world’s conflicts.  Help us to walk humbly with You at our side and when we come to the crossroads and have to choose which way to go lead us down the path of justice and righteousness whilst steering us away from the road that leads to selfishness and sin.

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

Father God, help us to be gentle, with others and with ourselves. Give us, we pray, the calm that makes for consideration and the respect for others that makes us courteous.  Take from us hard words and the cynical look.  Let us be to others as we would wish them to be to us and, when we fail, forgive us and when they fail, heal us.

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

Caring God, we pray for all those who are afflicted by physical, emotional or mental illness. Help them to keep their eyes fixed on you, and give them the courage to face the trials and temptations that may come.

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … Rose, Mark, Fiona (here in the Wakatipu), Deb, David, Barbara and Lynley (in Christchurch), Andrew, Fiona, Glenys in Dunedin, Sam (in Singapore) and 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.

Holy God, your love reaches beyond the grave. At the end of our days on earth be with us and with those we love and with those whom we love and have gone before us.   We pray now for those who have recently died, may they rest in peace, having risen in glory. <PAUSE>

Lord we pray for all whose life is saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their loneliness and let them know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench.

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

Heavenly father, in a moment of silence we place before you our personal prayers for ourselves, our families, our friends, for all of those whom we love and, for our personal ministries.

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

Faithful God, we thank you for the Good News we have received - may we be ready during the coming week and beyond to share our joy with others.

(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.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

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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