Service – Sunday 14th June

Sanctify Us by Thy Goodness by JS Bach
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Call to worship
Lord, our loving God,
whose ways are mysterious
and yet whose love is deep and tender;
you provide for all our needs.
Make yourself known to us as we worship you now:
give us words to praise you,
hearts to love you and minds to know you.
Help us to offer all to you,
and to know your mysterious presence with us
as we worship your Holy name.

StF 136 – Hymn – Morning has broken
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Morning has broken
like the first morning;
blackbird has spoken
like the first bird.
Praise for the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing
fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain’s new fall
sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall
on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness
where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning
born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
praise every morning,
God’s re-creation
of the new day!

Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

Let us pray together
Living Lord, we gather together across time and space to worship you; united by the words we read; united by our love for you. We celebrate your awesome majesty, your holiness, and your amazing love. We acknowledge you as Lord of our lives. We sing your praise and we bless your name. Living Lord, we give thanks for all that you have done in our lives and pray that we will continue to be open to your work in us in Jesus’ name. Amen

God who is love,
before time, beyond time
you are the ground of reality; everything belongs to you,
all things are intended to express love; your whole being is love.

God who is life,
on earth and beyond earth,
you are the source of meaning;
in darkness and death you are a light,
in doubt and despair, you are a friend;
your whole being is life.

God who is truth,
in words and beyond words,
you are the fountain of hope;
justice and peace are your promise,
faith and love are your way,
your whole being is truth. Amen

Prayer of Confession
O Holy God, we know we have fallen short.
We turn our backs when we could embrace.
We remain silent when we could speak.
We speak when we could listen.
We close the door when we could fling it wide open.
We judge when we could seek understanding.
We cling when we could give.
Forgive us, O God, for being so very human at times, and help us to continue to grow into the people you created us to be, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer for assurance
Sisters and brothers, we hear the Good News: the mercy of God is from everlasting to everlasting. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Amen

Today’s Gospel Reading
Matthew ch9 v35 to ch10 v23

StF 407 – Hymn – Hear the call of the kingdom (sung by Kristyn Getty)
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Hear the call of the kingdom,
lift your eyes to the King;
let his song rise within you
as a fragrant offering
of how God, rich in mercy,
came in Christ to redeem
all who trust in his unfailing grace.

Hear the call of the kingdom
to be children of light
with the mercy of heaven,
the humility of Christ;
walking justly before him,
loving all that is right,
that the life of Christ may shine through us.
King of heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world,
filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
salvation in Jesus’ name.

Hear the call of the kingdom
to reach out to the lost
with the Father’s compassion
in the wonder of the cross,
bringing peace and forgiveness,
and a hope yet to come:
let the nations put their trust in him.
King of heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world,
filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
salvation in Jesus’ name.

Keith Getty (b. 1974), Kristyn Getty (b. 1980) and Stuart Townend (b. 1963)

Click here to listen to the Address presented by Rev Mark Barrett 

In this passage Jesus sends out his disciples on their first mission. He has seen the needs of God’s people and up until now has done the work himself, even when accompanied by the disciples. Jesus’ comment about the workers being few is a commentary on what they have seen. The great and the good of the Temple and the Jewish faith have not stirred themselves to these actions of the kingdom, so it is up to them to do it if they feel it needs to be done.

The twelve are sent out to the lost sheep of Israel. The Jews were chosen by God. God planned to establish a kingdom of priests so that the rest of the nations might learn who he is and come to worship him. This mandate to be a community of witnesses runs through, beginning as far back as the call of Abram. The task is to bring them back to their covenant relationship with God.

Jesus sends his disciples out to heal in all senses of the word. They are to freely give, perhaps a dig at the practices of the priests etc. of the time. Shepherds who are misleading or not leading God’s sheep.

The expectation is that they will be cared for by the people who will show their gratitude to them. This again is in that same contrast to the Priests who received tithes from the people.

Jesus then strikes a different tone. If you are not welcomed, leave. Do not leave them ‘your peace’. If we see ‘peace’ as a physical gift that we offer a host. If the host is not hospitable you do not hand it over. This is a fearsome rebuke, highlighting that they show no hospitality. This is quite a harsh treatment we may think, but they are coming in God’s name to do his work and to refuse them is to refuse God.

The continuing verses are warnings against how people will turn against them when they seek to bring them back to the path of the covenant which means to call them to repentance and we all know what happened to Wesley when he called the self-proclaimed righteous to repent.

One of my favourite verses is verse 16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

I was once reprimanded by someone for pointing out, politely but firmly, the illogicality of their argument. I was told ‘I thought you Christians were supposed to be meek and mild. Doesn’t it say blessed are the meek.’ I said that perhaps his biblical knowledge and biblical Greek were worse than mine, as nowhere could I see the word ‘Christian’ translated as ‘doormat’.

Jesus turned the table over in the temple, Jesus satirised, mocked and called out the hypocrisy of the leaders of Israel both religious leaders and secular leaders. Jesus was not ‘meek and mild’ in terms of being a walkover. Jesus in his words and deeds of love was courageous, forthright and challenging.

We are called to be in the world (shrewd as snakes) but not of the world (innocent as doves). We are to be aware of the tricks and deceits of the world and to respond to them with righteous justice.

We may be fools for Christ but we are not the fools of this world.

Our calling is to bring people home, to bring them into the open arms of their loving creator God and for most of us to do it where we are now (the lost sheep of Israel). We will be laughed at, ignored and perhaps even vilified, but that only means that our message is striking home to the depths of their soul.

As the prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola says:

“Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.”

Amen to that.

StF 667 – Hymn – O Watcher in the wilderness (tune StF 205 Noel)
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O Watcher in the wilderness,
O Lord of bush and flame,
you meet us when we least expect
and summon us by name.
From our routine we turn aside
to see your wonders here;
you bid us stand on holy ground,
and overcome our fear.

O Friend and Master, Jesus Christ,
in whose great name we meet,
you take the basin and the towel
and kneel to wash our feet.
You call upon us by this sign,
as we’ve been served, to serve;
then send us out to do God’s work,
to give without reserve.

O Guide and comfort, Holy God,
among your people now,
you speak to us, and urge us grow,
and gifts and grace endow.
Unblock our ears, unlock our hearts,
truly to hear your word;
and strengthen, Lord, each onward step,
to live as we have heard.

Dominic Grant (b. 1970)

Our Father in heaven we lift our world to you today, knowing that you have called us to do so and knowing that you care about even the smallest detail of that world.

We lift to you all who suffer today at the hands of others, through war, greed, the abuse of power, or the abuse of words. May they find you standing with them, giving them strength. May they find your people upholding them and giving them a voice, that your love may be seen and known.

We lift to you all those who find themselves in positions of authority today, whether it be by choice, or because their skills have been recognised and needed, or because there is no one else available. May they seek wisdom in the right places and have the humility to know when they need help.

We lift to you all who suffer today as a result of this pandemic; through sickness, through the loss of loved ones, or through the exhausting workload of caring for others.  May they know comfort, healing, reassurance and hope.
And we lift to you all those known to us personally who are in need today … (name them) … May they find grace, healing, and blessing.

We bring all these prayers in the name of Jesus who taught us when we pray to say …

The Lord’s Prayer
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 forever.

StF 662 – Hymn – Have you heard God’s voice
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Have you heard God’s voice; has your heart been stirred?
Are you still prepared to follow?
Have you made a choice to remain and serve,
though the way be rough and narrow?
Will you walk the path that will cost you much
and embrace the pain and sorrow?
Will you trust in One who entrusts to you
the disciples of tomorrow.

Will you use your voice; will you not sit down
when the multitudes are silent?
Will you make a choice to stand your ground
when the crowds are turning violent?
Will you walk the path that will cost you much
and embrace the pain and sorrow?
Will you trust in One who entrusts to you
the disciples of tomorrow.

In your city streets will you be God’s heart?
Will you listen to the voiceless?
Will you stop and eat, and when friendships start,
will you share your faith with the faithless?
Will you walk the path that will cost you much
and embrace the pain and sorrow?
Will you trust in One who entrusts to you
the disciples of tomorrow.

Will you watch the news with the eyes of faith
and believe it could be different?
Will you share your views using words of grace?
Will you leave a thoughtful imprint?
Will you walk the path that will cost you much
and embrace the pain and sorrow?
Will you trust in One who entrusts to you
the disciples of tomorrow.

Jacqueline G. Jones
Words and Music: (c) 2008 Jacqueline G. Jones

May the One who makes all things new, fill us with grace, hope, peace and joy that together we may live and work to God’s praise and glory in our world. Amen

Little Fugue in G minor BWV 577 by JS Bach
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