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21st 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):

Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the Lord our God is the Holy One.

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

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your people throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; 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 33:12-23
00:00 / 03:06

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
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.

Matthew 22:15-22
00:00 / 01:20

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Dual Citizenship !
00:00 / 07:58

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

Sermon Ordinary 29, 22nd 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>

Have you ever had one of those days when you needed to be in several places at the same time ?

You want to take quiet time to be with God, your boss tells you that you’re needed in the office, you need to go to the garage to get the car fixed, you’ve got a sick friend in care, and a person in your faith group on the phone saying they really need to talk, and can they come and see you?

We all know the feeling, don’t we?  <PAUSE>

We’re committed to a lot of different people and a lot of different entities – family, friends, vocation, community, civic clubs and organisations, our faith community … not to mention taking care of ourselves.  It’s a juggling act, and when two or more demand our attention at one time, we’re torn.

That’s the essence of stress: being pulled in two or more directions at the same time.  Like a rubber band, being stretched to the limit.

And that’s the topic of the message this morning – the way in which competing forces lay claim to our time, talent, money and energy.

On the surface, the gospel lesson seems to address a legitimate question asked of Jesus: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”  But then, we all know - it’s a ruse.  Those who asked the question weren’t seeking Jesus’ counsel; they were trying to catch him off guard. No matter how Jesus answered he was sure to offend someone.

Holding that coin, you all know the answer Jesus gave … “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” <PAUSE>

Now, we are not called upon simply to give the emperor what belongs to the emperor. We are called upon, as well, to give to relatives, friends, strangers, co-workers, employees, and all other people whatever it is, of us, they can rightly expect and claim of us.

We are charged with the creative and challenging task of transforming our diverse and divided loyalties into a unified life governed and directed by our supreme and absolute loyalty, which is to God and God alone … Once we give ourselves absolutely to God, then remarkably we are free to give to others in ways that are gracious and life-giving.

But in the frenzy of daily life, the challenges of being pulled in different directions remains. So, what I’d like you to hear this morning – is simply this … How do we cope with dual citizenship? Citizens of The Kingdom of God and members of earthly nations and communities? The answer, as disciples of Christ MUST be - PUT GOD FIRST. 

Cultivate and nurture your relationship with God … and your relationship with your spouse, your children, your friends, and all the others you’re committed to will fall into their proper place.

You WILL find the time and energy to do what needs to be done.

Put God, and proclaiming The Kingdom of God, first and everything else will fall into place.  This is what Jesus told his disciples so long ago:

“But seek first God’s Kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

<LONG PAUSE>

Always remembering that when, first and foremost, we put giving our lives to God above all else 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:

Faithful God, sometimes our faith can feel weak. The trials of life test our faith, pull us in different directions and we find it hard to rejoice.  Help our faith to grow and help us realise that You are the most important thing 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.

Mighty God help us to see that things which seem completely impossible become possible, if they are approached with faith. Help us to see that If we approach a thing saying, “It can’t be done,” it will not; but if we approach it saying, “It must be done,” the chances are that it will; always remembering that we approach no task alone, but that You and all Your power is with us.

(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 pray for our loved ones; for those who lift our hearts and those who turn our hair grey. We pray for those we instinctively warm to and those with whom there are frequent misunderstandings.

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

Living God, we pray for the hungry and the homeless, the broken and bereaved. For all for whom this day brings sadness and little joy, for the sick, lonely and the helpless, for those whose hope has been shattered and their faith destroyed.

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. Everlasting God, we pray for those approaching death, that through our prayers they may know themselves accompanied with love on that journey. We pray for those who have died, that they may come to know the full joy of heaven.

May all the faithful departed now rest in peace as they most surely have risen in glory to spend eternity with The Risen Christ.

(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 show us how to always put You first in our lives. Teach us to - first and foremost - offer to You what is Yours … our lives and allow everything else that is of this world to fall into its place.

(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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