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20th 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):

Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures for ever.

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

Lord, we pray that Your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; 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)

Exodus 32:1-14
00:00 / 04:25

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Psalm 99
00:00 / 01:36

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 22:1-14
00:00 / 02:11

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Clothed Correctly?
00:00 / 10:24

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

Sermon Ordinary 28, 15th 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>

Did you catch the lyrics of that song …

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see, the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say
Thank you for being a friend.

So, if Jesus invited ME … what would I wear … would I be properly dressed?

Being improperly dressed can be a nightmare. I once woke up in the middle of the night in a bit of a cold sweat. I’d just had a dream that I was giving a sermon – only to realise that I was standing before God in my sweaty, dirty running shirt and shorts!

So, my message today is about being properly dressed.  But it’s not about what you wear to church or work or school or to play sports. It’s about being clothed in the righteousness of God.

The gospel today comes from a couple of parables neatly tied together.  The first has to do with a king, who wanted to give a big wedding banquet for his son.  So, he invited all his friends and political allies.  It was to be a royal, festive occasion.  However, as the servants returned, they brought back only rejections.

The king asked a second time but the would-be guests not only refused the second invitation, they made light of it.  They even taunted and ridiculed the king’s servants.

So, the king sent his servants into the cities, inviting people off the streets to come to the palace.  Sure enough, common folk poured into the palace to celebrate the marriage of the prince.

The early church got this message: The same happens to us.  The kingdom of God is all around us.  The table is spread.  The banquet hall must be filled.  If we’re not willing to accept the invitation and put God first, our seat may well be given to someone else.

Either way, the message is the same: Whatever our excuse, the kingdom must go on.  God is at work reconciling the world to himself and, if we’re too busy or, too unwilling to be part of this worldwide ministry of proclamation and reconciliation, God will choose others to do his bidding.

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to make Him your first priority, to offer the first fruits of our time, talent, gifts and service to the service of God.

The Good News is the Kingdom of God is around us, and WE are the honoured, invited guests.

<PAUSE> … BUT … <PAUSE>

A “word to the wise” …Dress accordingly. That’s where the second parable comes in.

According to Matthew, as the king mixed and mingled with his guests, he noticed one that was not wearing a proper wedding garment. He was as out of place as I would be before you here today in my sweaty, dirty running clothing.

Out of place - really doesn’t say what needs to be said … it’s being DISRESPECTFUL.

In Jesus’ day, like today, dressing appropriately indicates one’s full participation in the joy of the occasion - whatever that occasion maybe.

The implication in the parable is that the guest who was not wearing a festal garment had simply “come along for the ride”.  He wasn’t there to honour the king and celebrate the marriage of the prince, he was there to scoff down the free food and drink.

I humbly place before you that the king had every right to be annoyed and throw him out. <PAUSE>

But wait there’s more. In the Bible, clothes have a DEEPLY symbolic meaning. They’re a sign of being dressed in the righteousness of God.

As Paul told the Galatians, “For as many of you as were baptised into Christ you have put on Christ.” 

To “put on Christ” is to be clothed in the righteousness of God. It is to immerse yourself in the teachings of Jesus, in reading the Holy Scriptures, and filled with His Spirit.

The great Good News is that God supplies all the clothes we need to fight the sinfulness of injustice and oppression, self-centredness and greed.  He gives them to us as a free gift through the death and resurrection of His only Son.

The catch is that WE have to be willing to wear them, not only when we come together to worship, but throughout the week, in our homes, in our community, in the world.

The crux of the matter is this: God wants to clothe us in garments of Christ, but God leaves it up to us to put them on. <PAUSE>

So, make sure YOU are properly dressed … put on the garments of Christ. Clothe yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love … and in so doing, honour and glorify YOUR King.

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 thank you for Your invitation to Your Realm and so we pray that we too may clothe ourselves and our lives in the manner of Christ and always find You accompanying us on our life journey and that ultimately we would find Your deep peace in our lives

(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.

Loving God we hold the needs of our sisters and brothers as dearly as our own needs. Help us to love You with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds and to love our neighbours as ourselves. With these commandments before us we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions on behalf of the members of Your Kingdom around the world.

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

Creator God, we pray for the peoples of the world that they may enjoy un-perverted justice whether they be poor or rich, great or small.  Especially today we raise before you all the peoples of The Holy Land. We pray that those who use violence and terror to bring about their desires and those who then so readily seek revenge following acts of terrorism may instead pursue all that makes for peace.

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

Father God, we thank you for our families and friends.  We thank you for modern technology which enables us to hear and see them so easily and to keep in touch even though separated by great distances.

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

Loving God, friend of those in need, Your Son Jesus has loosened our burdens and healed our spirits. We lift before You those still burdened, those seeking healing, and all those in any kind of need around the world.

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, in China 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, we remember when Your Son Jesus was moved to tears at the grave of Lazarus his friend. Look with compassion on those bereaved and grieving at the loss of a loved one; give to their troubled hearts the light of hope and strengthen in all of us the gift of faith, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.

Faithful God, at the start of this new week and recognising Your trust in us to accept Your invitation to live and preach the Gospel make us always more ready to please You rather than to seek the praise of the secular world

(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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