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4th Sunday after Pentecost

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):

Give due honour to God’s holy name, bring offerings and enter the courts of the Lord; for you O Lord are coming to judge the earth; with righteousness you will judge the world and the peoples with your truth.

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

Holy God, grant us the beginning of wisdom and love to cast out every fear: that we may grow more brave, more ready to hear, more ready to obey; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Gen 21:8-21
00:00 / 02:45

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Rom 6:1b-11
00:00 / 01:54

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:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Matthew 10:34-39
00:00 / 01:04

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Stand Firm !
00:00 / 11:13

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

Sermon Ordinary 12, 25th 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>

At first glance, our gospel today seems rather grim – it talks about a time of division and conflict.

Jesus says, “… Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have come not to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household...”

Let me begin by saying that this IS a complicated reading. It’s part of a larger conversation that Jesus shared with his disciples – about discipleship - and I don’t think we can fully understand the meaning of Jesus’ words without looking at the whole conversation.

In chapter 9, we see Jesus move from place to place – we see Him heal the sick and the suffering and He picks up some followers on the way. He heals a paralytic, He then calls Matthew to become a disciple, He restores the sight of two blind men and heals another who is mute. His followers continue to grow in number, as He moves from place to place (This is all in chapter 9).

Then, in Chapter 10, Jesus singles out twelve of his most faithful and trusted followers. He gathers them together and then gives them the power and the authority to do the same – to heal the sick and restore the broken – they are entrusted with the power that they saw for themselves in Christ. We’re told that they are given authority over unclean spirits – to cast them out. They were also given authority to cure every disease and every sickness.

So, chapter 10 begins with this calling and commission. Jesus encourages His followers to do what He did. Then, Jesus talks to the disciples about the shape of this new ministry, out in the big, wide world and what it will look like.

He calls the disciples (and that’s US) to step out boldly in faith – to go – to proclaim the good news. This is the message that they\we are called to proclaim – this is their good news – to tell the sick and the suffering that the Kingdom has come near.

Jesus predicts that this will be a very challenging ministry for them\us - just as it was for Him. He warns them that they\we may even be attacked for their beliefs.

So, this gives us the context – and it can help us to understand our reading today.
In our Gospel, Jesus, points to a time of unavoidable conflict between two different viewpoints. Jesus reminds us, His disciples, that our ministry will compete with many of the social structures and beliefs that contribute to life in the world – it will compete with economic and social structures that tolerate neglect and abuse.

The world, then AND now, can be a difficult place, especially for the poor, the marginalised, the sick, the malnourished, and those deemed to be “outsiders” – those living on the very edges of society.

This is the very heart of the matter - THIS is our context.

If we follow Jesus, if we proclaim the gospel, then Jesus says we WILL face divisions from the world. In the call to His disciples that we hear today, we are given the commission to proclaim that God’s kingdom is near AND we are to see new priorities – new values.

Through the ministry of Jesus and His disciples (and that’s US) we see a new and genuine concern for the poorest of the poor – we see a genuine care and concern for the outsider, the different, the widow, the orphan, and the refugee.

I think our Gospel message has some pretty far reaching political and social implications for us – as the people of God living here in The Wakatipu or wherever our ‘home’ faith community might be. In particular, we struggle with the knowledge that God’s Church doesn’t really hold a privileged position in our culture anymore. In a way, we now share more in common with the disciples of the 1st century – we speak from the edges of our society, not the centre. Just as the disciples were called to challenge the unjust social structures that existed in the 1st century, we are called to offer a similar ministry in the context of our increasing sceptical and secular society today.

When Jesus talks about conflict within the family (son against father – daughter against mother etc), he’s talking about the conflict that develops when two competing viewpoints come together.

In that sense, we’re being reminded today that we need to stand firm and maintain the faith when this happens – we’re called to speak the truth and defend the cause of the most vulnerable, even when it’s costly – even when it’s not popular or welcome.

Our gospel today reminds us that discipleship is a journey of faith that shapes our lives. It’s not a job or an occupation – it’s tied to who we are, as Christians.

Again, when we consider the social and political trends that shape our world – I think this gospel passage has much to say. As David said on many different occasions, the Church MUST have a wide, far-reaching voice – we proclaim that the kingdom is near to ALL those who need to hear this message. We are called to give consideration to the poor and the needy – the neglected and the isolated – regardless of their nationality, religious convictions, income or sexual orientation.

We are called to STAND FIRM IN CHRIST, even when it will be costly. And yes, there may well be divisions – in our families, in our church and in our nation … but - STAND FIRM IN CHRIST - - - AND TO GOD WILL BE THE GLORY!

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
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:

Holy God, you have given us your only Son to be for us, both a sacrifice for sin, and an example of Godly life; Give us the grace to thankfully receive this wonderful gift, and to always strive ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life. <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.

Everlasting God, We pray for Your people throughout the world, for all who call themselves Christians, that they may go forward in unity and strength. Help us to respect the beliefs of others even if we do not share them, to celebrate what we have in common and to accept our differences. Guide us all in our ministries as we live each day.

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

Creator God, we pray for people in parts of the world where life is precarious, whether through disaster, poverty, disease, or war. We pray that the time may be hastened when there is peace on earth and goodwill between all people. Especially we pray for our precious world; help us to be good stewards so that we can pass it on in good order to the generations yet to come.

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

Father God, we pray today for our friends, our families and our Christian community, that united by our common baptism we may always welcome the newcomer, the stranger and all who are vulnerable.  Help us always to follow Jesus’ words and advice on hospitality and generous giving and realise that accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help.

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

Gracious God, We pray for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit and for those who care for them. We pray for the sick; for those who mourn; for those without faith, hope or love.<PAUSE>

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … Rose, Mark, Fiona (here in the Wakatipu), Alison, 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. Merciful God, We remember before You those who have died and those who are bereaved by their passing.  We give back to you, Lord, those whom you gave to us. Your son taught us that life is eternal and that love cannot die. So death is only a horizon, and a horizon is only the limit of our sight. Open our eyes to see more clearly, and draw us closer to you, so that we may know we are nearer to our loved ones, who are with you. 

(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 in the week that lies before us may we reflect your love in our families, our churches and our communities and in doing so, show everyone we meet that we are followers of Christ with a true desire to draw them into our Christian faith.

(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.

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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