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25th 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):

Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to another.

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

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; 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)

Psalm 100
00:00 / 02:16

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
00:00 / 01:30

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 25:14-30
00:00 / 03:32

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Use Your Talents !
00:00 / 09:20

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

Sermon Ordinary 33, 19th November 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>

The deadpan comedian and master of the one-liner, Steven Wright, once said, “I started off with nothing.  I’ve still got most of it.”  The same could be said of the servant with one talent this morning.

Jesus’ parable of the talents is another of those that most of us find very familiar.  The landowner goes away on a trip, leaves the three servants in charge of his money, each getting a different amount – in accordance with his abilities – and when the landowner comes home there is the predictable day of reckoning.

Preachers often use this text to teach such lessons as, “don’t hide your light under a basket” or “make sure you use your God-given talents.” Certainly, This IS a message about stewardship – making proper use of the things God has given us – BUT THERE IS MUCH MORE TO IT THAN THAT.

At its essence, this a parable about faith and trust in God.

Most sources agree that what the landowner entrusted the servants with was a VERY large sum of money – more than most would earn in a lifetime.  So whatever it was that Jesus was drawing our attention to, it’s something of great worth.  And it is !

The landowner (God) has entrusted US with the most precious gift God can give, the gift of life.

Now God has left us to use the lives that we have been given as we see fit and Jesus warns us that at some point we are going to have to account for our choices of use.

What was it that the five-talent servant and the two-talent servant did that was so much different than what their compatriot did?  Quite simply, they cared enough about the Master’s wishes for them, and trusted enough in the Master’s love for them to take risks with what they had been given, throwing caution to the wind in hopes that they would reap a great reward on behalf of their Master.

Meanwhile, the one-talent servant sat on the sidelines, and through his own faithlessness, did nothing to prepare for the return of his Master.  Through inaction, he wasted an opportunity to use what his Master had entrusted him with to glorify the Master and to realise his own potential.

The one-talent servant had the opposite of faith in God; he was frightened to take a risk - so afraid about what the future might hold, so afraid that taking a chance would be a bad thing.

He felt certain that if he did anything wrong, he would be punished.  And he let that certainty lead him into a sense of complacency. “If I just tie this money in a handkerchief and bury it, that will be enough.  I won’t have to do anything else.  I can sit back, wait until the master returns and I won’t get in any trouble.”  Wrong! Wrong! And Wrong Again! <PAUSE>

Our Lord wants us to take what we’ve been given – these lives of ours, and everything associated with them – and to risk them for the good of The Kingdom of God.

Think about that … think about how that could lead people to stumble, to fear … and move away from proclaiming The Kingdom.

However, of this one thing I am absolutely certain …

Your talents are God's gift to you.

What you do with it is your gift back to God.

<PAUSE>

The Lord gave us our lives and our associated gifts and He wants us to take what we’ve been given – these lives of ours, and everything associated with them – and we MUST pray to God to give us the courage and the strength to RISK them for the good of The Kingdom.

So let us continue to throw off fear and risk it all for the good of The Lord because The Lord will then say to each and every one of us …

“Well done, you good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your master.”

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:

Loving God, we offer our prayers now for all people and the gifts You have given them and we pray that you give them and us the strength and courage to risk all to use those gifts in Your service.

In Jesus’ name we pray. 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.

We pray for Your people across the world, remembering especially those Christians in countries where their beliefs make them vulnerable and in danger. Uphold and strengthen all who are persecuted for their faith. We pray for hostages and their families and loved ones from whom they are separated.

We give thanks for this Faithalight ministry; may we point the way to God’s Kingdom in our communities and welcome all who are seeking.


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

Creator God, we pray for peace in the world, for understanding between nations, religions and factions and for an end to old grievances which remain unsettled. We especially pray for the peoples of the Middle East as the conflict continues and for Christian, Muslim and Jew, that they may live alongside one another in mutual respect and harmony.

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

Father God, we thank you for the gifts, talents and abilities You have given each of us praying that a deeper understanding of those talents can be used and shared with all whom we meet.  Set us free from the fear that makes us inward looking. Give us a renewed generosity with our time, our talents and our treasure. Give us a renewed concern for those whom we know who are struggling in our communities.

Give us a renewed vision of what it is for us to be Your people, in our places, at this time.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer. Forgiving God, send Your healing forgiveness to all who are suffering feelings of guilt, shame or regret. Help to mend broken relationships. Be with all who feel that, through advancing years or failing health, they cannot enjoy life as it used to be. May those who are learning to live a new pattern of life feel that you are walking beside them.

We pray for the sick and suffering, and give you thanks for those who are on the road to recovery.

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, we remember those who have died and for those who are bereaved. May the light of Christ which eternally shines bring hope to their dark places.

May all the faithful departed now rest in peace as they most surely have risen in glory to spend eternity gazing upon the face of 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.

Gracious God, forgive us when we only turn to You when things trouble us and when we forget to thank you for Your gifts and blessings. Help us to recognise all the wonderful things in Your world for which we should be grateful and send us out into the coming week ready to show our gratitude in all that we do and say.

(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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