top of page

6th 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):

Your word is a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path. I have sworn and am determined to keep your righteous judgments.

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

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Gen 25:19-34
00:00 / 03:59

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Romans 8:1-11
00:00 / 02:04

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.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
00:00 / 03:33

Listen to David speak to this gospel

God ALWAYS comes through
00:00 / 12:15

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

Sermon Ordinary 15, 16th July 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>

We all know “The Parable of The Sower” and as we also know, Jesus spoke in parables. It was a common way Jewish rabbis taught in those days, and Jesus followed the rabbinic tradition.

Sowing seeds was something Jesus’ listeners knew a lot about. That’s how crops were planted - everyone did it or saw it. Folks would take a handful of seeds and cast them out over a small area of ground, as opposed to our modern planting drills that place individual seeds in straight rows at just the right depth, so many centimetres apart.

Sowing, by comparison, is unscientific, and, by our standards, an inefficient way of getting the job done. A lot of seed is wasted. Some seed falls on the hard ground and can’t take root. Other falls on the pathway and gets stepped on. Other seed gets eaten by the birds before it can sprout. Other seed gets taken over by weeds and grass. Only a small percentage of the seed sown actually grows and bears fruit.

Yet … in spite of everything … the harvest was plentiful! That’s the nature of the Kingdom of God!

And that’s the Good News we need to hear. Because, when YOU consider all the “seed” that YOU sow in the course of a day or a week or a lifetime – and all that goes to waste – YOU can get pretty discouraged. YOU might even begin to despair and wonder and ask yourself, what’s the point? <PAUSE>

For example, what’s the point … of recording a ten-minute message when the average attention span is something like three minutes? I know lots of preachers who get discouraged preaching Sunday after Sunday. Does anyone really listen? Is anyone’s life ever changed for the better by what’s said in the message? If we dispensed with the sermon entirely, would anyone notice or care? <PAUSE>

What’s the point … of inviting others to come and meet Jesus when maybe one out of one hundred (if you’re lucky) accept your invitation? Most of our efforts for growing God’s Kingdom fail before they get off the ground, not because there’s not enough potential people to call on, but because we honestly don’t believe we’ll be successful. So, what’s the point? <PAUSE>

What’s the point … of giving to missions and charities when so little seems to change? Remember the 1985 “Live Aid” concert - almost, to the day, 38 years ago? Ever wonder about that? What changed in Ethiopia? <PAUSE>

Some of the most cynical people I know are those who’ve been hurt by trying – and failing.

I see this ‘fatigue’ a lot, caring, concerned people who give so much for so long they just don’t have anything left inside to give. And they wonder, what’s the point? <PAUSE> The Good News is that, despite the odds, God promises an abundant harvest:

“…Some seeds fell by the roadside…Others fell on rocky ground…
Others fell among thorns…Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit:
Some one hundred times as much…”

For example, on this current journey that Kim and I are taking around Scandinavia we meet, greet, spend time with lots of people. Then, we part and we don’t see them again. This website, this message is read\watched by people from all over the world. I never see or hear from the vast majority of them.

It’s tempting to wonder what, if anything, is accomplished. <PAUSE>

But, then, I never know. Only one success, JUST ONE, now and then, is enough to outweigh a multitude of failed attempts.

Remember, the mightiest tree sheds hundreds of seeds a year, but less than a handful become trees; most get eaten up by animals or just blown away to be lost.

Remember the greetings you all send out to friends on birthdays - you’ll never know how much they mean and the impact they have. Over the years you send a lot of cards, a lot of emails, a lot of good wishes. A very few become cherished for a lifetime - but you often just don’t get to know that!

Think about today’s parable in relation to the Christian faith. Thousands of people heard and saw Jesus of Nazareth, but only a handful came to believe that he was the Son of God.

Was that all such a waste? So many pearls of wisdom go unheard. So many acts of kindness go unnoticed. So many opportunities go unaccepted. So many blessings fall through the cracks. As I said a moment ago … it’s enough to make you want to throw up your hands and cry, “What’s the point of it all?

Well, In spite of all the obstacles, God prevails. And the resulting harvest is abundant and plentiful.

Now, here’s the “twist in the tail” … Jesus told this parable to a crowd of Jews gathered at the Sea of Galilee. Matthew says there were so many of them, Jesus had to get into a boat in order to be heard.

We don’t know how many were in the crowd that day, but there must have been a good bunch of ‘em. Let’s be generous and say most of them were paying attention and got the point.

The truth is, after Jesus finished teaching, most of them went home – or back to work – their lives unchanged. But a handful of those who heard him that day were touched in such a way that they would never be the same again, and they went on to become a part of the larger group of Jesus’ followers, and it’s through this handful of faithful witnesses that the gospel of Jesus Christ spread from Jerusalem to all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

AND THAT, THAT, IS THE POINT.

In spite of it all our uncertainty, all our insecurity, all our doubts …

Our task is to keep sowing the seed, it’s God’s task to nurture that seed and - - -

GOD ALWAYS COMES THROUGH!

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 <AMINE>

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:

Everlasting God, we join together in praying to You for the needs of Your people, Your world, our communities and ourselves, trusting in your love which reaches out from before the foundation of the world to nurture and grow the seeds of Your Kingdom that we sow. <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.

Holy God, whenever we start to get offended by Your love, acceptance of all, generosity or open-mindedness, give us the grace to repent and join your rejoicing. Guard us, Your people, against self-righteousness and all rules and limits which You would not own, but keep always before us the power of Your rule of love.

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

Creator God, we pray for Your world.  Forgive us when we are ungrateful, when spiritual blindness prevents us from appreciating the wonder of Your creation and the endless cycle of nature.  Forgive us for taking without giving; reaping without sowing.  We pray for the farmers of the world, many of whom still use those methods described by Jesus and we especially pray that they may be treated with fairness for their labours. We especially remember those who work with the land in regions suffering so badly from climate change.

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

Father God, we thank You for the love we share with our families, our friends, and all whom we meet.  Help us to love them as You love us. Help us to sow the seeds of the gospel of Christ and leave those seeds in Your ever-loving hands to nurture and to grow.

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

Loving God and Lord of life, we pray for the gift of courage to face up to and cope with illness. We pray for it for ourselves, and for those who we will name before you now:

We now raise before you those who have asked for our prayers … Rose, Mark, Fiona , Alison, David, Barbara, Lynley, Andrew, Fiona, Glenys, Paul (in New Zealand), Sam (in Singapore), Santiago (in Argentina), Dominque, Xavier (in France), John, Geoff, Liz (in Australia) and others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you. <PAUSE> We thank you for those who through their courage have come through illness and for those facing the reality that there is little light at the end of their earthly tunnel.

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

Gracious God, give us ears to hear and minds to understand the message of immortality for the children of Your kingdom so that we may look forward with patience and confidence to that time when we will join you in the peace of eternity. 

We especially pray for all Your faithful servants who have recently died and are on that journey to 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, we thank you for this opportunity of coming together in prayer from all corners of Your world. As we look forward to the week to come, we pray for an awareness of your love and support in all the seeds that we sow.

(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.

bottom of page