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17th 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):

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you;

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

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Exodus 17:1-7
00:00 / 01:19

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Matthew 22:15-22
00:00 / 01:59

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.

Exodus 17:1-7
00:00 / 02:30

Listen to David speak to this gospel

God Given Authority
00:00 / 11:37

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

Sermon Ordinary 26, 1st October 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>

I was once asked, “What do you do?”. When I responded with, “I’m a priest”, the person I was talking to smiled and said, “Ah, so God is your boss!”.

“Authority” is the theme running throughout today’s gospel. The chief priests and elders take issue with Jesus’ authority. The two sons challenge their father’s authority.

More often than not we are confused about authority. We misunderstand it to be based on credentials and expertise, a thick resume, years of education, successes and accomplishments, status and reputation, or the position held in relationship to another. We assume that authority comes from outside a person and that it is given them by their circumstances. In this understanding some people have been given authority (are authorised) and others have not. <PAUSE>

There is, however, another authority issue at play in today’s gospel. That issue is our failure to recognise, claim, and exercise the authority that is within us; to go - because of our own choice - into the vineyard and work. To go our into the world and proclaim The Kingdom of God.

That’s the authority issue I believe this gospel is also holding before us today.

If you think God is the boss of you, you’ve misunderstood authority. Let go of that idea. God is not the boss of you. God is not the boss of me. <PAUSE>

God is our “author”. Every day God AUTHOR-ises us to enter His vineyard, to serve in this world with HIS authority and on His behalf through the gifts He has bestowed upon each and every one of us. THAT is all the authorisation you need.

This is the great commission that Christ authorises us to do, take a look at Matthew 28:19:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

This “authority” then always comes from within us. It is an internal, God-given quality not an external ‘power’ given to us by virtue of a set of circumstances.

That’s what the chief priests and elders failed to understand. I think that’s why Jesus was always so aggravated with the religious leaders of his time.

They chose to exchange their God-given authority to serve for human power, human rules, regulations and restrictions. In the absence of true authority there will always be power struggles. Look at the gridlock in many political systems (and by the way, it’s election time here in New Zealand). Look at the wars throughout the world. These things are about power, NOT true authority.

World leaders often exercise power but very few exercise authority.

In the exercise of power we look to our own human interests but in the exercise of authority we look to the interests of others. <PAUSE>

Now … think about the people who hold authority for you. They are not concerned about themselves or their ‘domains’:

They strive to inspire you.
They strive to call forth from you faith, hope, and trust.
They strive to expand your world, open new possibilities, and bring forth life and gifts in you that you never knew were there.
They cause you to re-evaluate your life, change your mind, and do things differently.

That sounds an awful lot like Jesus and it’s very different from those who want to exercise power over you.

ALL authority originates with God, and God freely shares His authority with us. This authority that God shares with us is nothing less than his own divine attributes. It is the expression and manifestation of God’s life in and through our own.

That shared authority exists in us and is revealed by us as the many and varied gifts, God has imparted into each of our lives.

That means EVERY ONE OF US HAS AUTHORITY. As a priest I do NOT have more authority than you. I do NOT have better authority than you. GOD gives each of us different gifts and different authority that are unique to OUR lives.

God is generous and extravagant with the gifts He gives and the authority He shares. <PAUSE>

So, viewed in this light, there is no one without authority. The difference isn’t that some have authority and others don’t. The difference is that some recognise and exercise their authority and others do not. <PAUSE>

So, what is the authority God has given you? What gifts, what divine attributes, has God bestowed upon you?

Are you living that authority and sharing those gifts?

Have you gone out and into the vineyard and fully used them?

When you remember that you are authorised by Christ to go out into the world and baptise the nations … and in your own way … you actually do it - - - then, 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 <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:

Holy God, You made our world to be like a vineyard and choose a people to be its tenants.  May we who are now the workers in that vastly changed vineyard prove to be worthy of the work You trust and authorise us to do in Jesus’ name.

(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.

Almighty God, we pray for your people around the world; we pray that Christ may be the cornerstone of all that we do in His name.  May we, His living church, be the solid blocks of a spiritual community which continues to hold fast in an ever secular world.

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

Creator God as we pray for our world we especially pray for all who like St Paul have suffered the loss of all things for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ.  We raise before you organisations like the Barnabas Fund which aids Christians living under persecution or in threatening environments with finance and prayers. We join our prayers with them as we ask for courage and strength for all persecuted Christians, and their faith communities.

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

Father God, we thank you for the joy of human love, and for all those among whom we live and work.  We pray particularly for loved ones who worry us with their health, or circumstances, or life direction. We pray for those among our friends and families who do not know You, or whose faith has been shaken.

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

Gracious God, friend of those in need, Your Son Jesus can free us from our burdens and heal our bodies and spirits. We pray for those still burdened, those seeking healing, those in need of any kind. We pray too for those suffering from addiction of any kind and ask that you help them to put the temptation of Satan and the world behind them.

We now raise before you 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 and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you. <PAUSE>

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer. Merciful God, as we pray for all who have departed this life help us to know Christ and the power of His resurrection. May those who have shared His sufferings become like Him in His death, and through that suffering and sharing attain the resurrection from the dead.

May all the faithful departed now rest in peace as they most surely have risen in glory.

(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.

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.

Faithful God, as we move into the coming week to live and work for the Gospel, help us to travel onwards with our eyes on the goal, to that place where you are beckoning us, onward to Jesus.

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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