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23rd 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 thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures for ever.

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

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by Your gift that Your faithful people offer You true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain Your heavenly promises; 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)

Matthew 25:31-46
00:00 / 02:08

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
00:00 / 01:01

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 23:1-12
00:00 / 01:38

Listen to Bishop Steve Benford speak to this gospel

Greatness Serves !
00:00 / 04:12

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

Reflection Ordinary 31, 5th November 2023

Today's Gospel comes to us at the end of Jesus's ministry, he is in the temple. He has cleansed the temple from a lot of the trading that's going on.

We read over the few last few weeks how he's been tested by the Sadducees, by the Herodians, and now by the Pharisees, and he's responding to the challenges.

Today, He's giving us a reminder, I think it's us as well as the Pharisees just to be alert to how we view ourselves in the light of others.

It strikes me quite obviously, that God wants us not to be in a state of hubris, a state of saying, I'm better than the person next to me, because I believe this, or I do this, or whatever.

What Jesus is in His Gospel is reminding us, of how all of us are loved by God, just as all of us are formed from the clay, from the dust of the ground, all of us can consider ourselves released from slavery and call into being a people, just as the first Israelites and Hebrews were now us to call together, equal in the sight of God, and loved by God.

This is the season when the church remembers all saints and all souls, those who have gone before us, those who shine as lights, and those who inspire and encourage us.

What is a saint other than someone whose life has been touched, and changed by an encounter with Jesus Christ, which I think is an ongoing thing just as much as a single one. We meet Jesus daily, as we read our scriptures, as we see and serve each other. And as we pray and receive the sacraments, we meet with Jesus, and our lives are changed.

And we see ourselves as God sees us, equal, equally loved. And so instead of saying, I want the highest seat, I want the prestige. You say, How can we serve? How can I serve? How can I follow the way Jesus has taught me? Because that's our supreme example, not a God who sits only in throned. Beyond all contradiction, beyond all arguments, beyond all contact, we have a God that comes down to us in Jesus Christ becomes fully human, and goes through all the degradation that human beings have to go through, including dying, but then doesn't leave it there, but moves on and cause us to hope for the resurrection that comes ahead.

So today, as we recall, and remember Jesus talking to the Pharisees, can we hear him talking to us, but talking to us in words of love?

My sisters and brothers are for these words in the name of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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, our creator and redeemer You love us and know us better than we know ourselves. With a word, you created all things and so we pray that you will hear the words of your children as we pray; giving thanks to you for your world and ALL its peoples.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

Holy God, as we pray for Your people throughout the world we remember those Christians in countries where their beliefs make them vulnerable and in danger. Uphold and strengthen all who are persecuted and tortured for their faith. We pray for ourselves that we might always do as Jesus says and as Jesus does. 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.

Creator God, Jesus foresaw that nations would rise up against nations and that there would be famines and earthquakes.  We pray for all those suffering the ravages of war, terrorism, natural and man-made disasters.  Help us in our individual way to never contribute to discord and always do everything in our power to be good stewards of the fragile earth on which we live.

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

Father God, we pray for victims of violence, abuse and neglect, especially where it occurs within the family circle.  Be with them in their confusion and pain and heal their physical and mental wounds that they may be restored to health with the strength to face the future.

(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, we raise before you those from our communities who are ill, hospitalised or recuperating and for those we know within our families and circle of friends.

We especially 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, 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 any we know who have recently died and are on that journey to You.

May they and 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 as we go out into the world shining with Your light and Your truth help us to reflect Your love so that the world can witness that we are followers of Christ and through that witness draw others into Your loving care.

(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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