Snippets from Service on Sunday 11th October

The Gospel reading from Matthew 22 was not the Jesus meek and mild of which as a child I remember singing about in Sunday School. This is a tough Jesus, with some hard truths, things we would rather not hear, but things that we need to take to heart never the less.

Gospel Reading – Then Jesus spoke to them again in parables. He said, “The kindom of heaven is like this: there was a ruler who prepared a feast for the wedding of the family’s heir; but when the ruler sent out workers to summon the invited guests, they wouldn’t come.  The ruler sent other workers, telling them to say to the guests, ‘I have prepared this feast for you. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding.’  But they took no notice; one went off to his farm, another to her business, and the rest seized the workers, attacked them brutally and killed them.  The ruler was furious and dispatched troops who destroyed those murderers and burned their town.  “Then the ruler said to the workers, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but the guests I invited don’t deserve the honour.  Go out to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find.’  The workers went out into the streets and collected everyone they met, good and bad alike, until the hall was filled with guests.  “The ruler, however, came in to see the company at table, and noticed one guest who was not dressed for a wedding.  ‘My friend,’ said the ruler, ‘why are you here without a wedding garment?’ But the guest was silent.  Then the ruler said to the attendants, ‘Bind this guest hand and foot, and throw the individual out into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

We also had Psalm 23 as our psalm for the day and the intercessions reflected both the comfort of this familiar psalm along with the challenges of Jesus words from our Gospel.

YHWH, you are our shepherd: we want nothing more

O God you let us lie down in green meadows; lead us beside restful waters, guide us to lush pastures, refresh our souls, all for the sake of your Name.

We pray for those who have nowhere safe to lie down, those who are homeless and refugees, for those who may have a physical bed, but not know safety within it, the abused, those living in places of war, those fearful of rising waters, raging fires or other acts which might damage their place of rest and endanger their lives.  We pray for all governments and leaders and their striving to secure peace and safety that not just for the few but for all people.  Lead and guide us O God, in all your ways, through all our days, clothe us in your righteousness. 

YHWH, you are our shepherd: we want nothing more.

O God, even when shadows of Death, destruction and troublesome things surround us, we have nothing to fear for you God are with us, giving us courage. 

We pray for those who are fearful this day, fearful because of health concerns, because of job prospects or the lack of them, fearful because of financial worries, because of a future which is uncertain and unclear for many.  We remember before you O God those who will die this day and pray they will not die alone but know the presence of those around them and know your presence to welcome them into eternity.  We pray for the future of this planet you created, give us courage to do what is right to protect and preserve it even if it means changing the ways we live and making our lives less convenient than we have grown accustomed to.  Give us courage for the times ahead O God whatever they may bring and clothe us with grateful hearts for all you provide for us.  And clothe us with compassion for those whom suffer regardless of how or why that suffering has come about.

 YHWH, you are our shepherd: we want nothing more.

O God, you spread a table for us in the presence of our enemies, you anoint us with your blessings till they overflow.  Your goodness and love is there beside us all our days and when they come to an end we will still dwell with you.

We remember and pray for those who we love but see no longer trusting that they are safely in your care and in your promise to be always with us even in and through death.  We pray for those who wish us ill, for those who have no concern for others, for those who think only of self, we ask you to bless them O God just as you bless us.  Help us to act with your grace and mercy towards those who do us wrong.  We give thanks for this day for the overflowing blessings it contains, for being able to gather and worship you without fear, we pray for Christians throughout the world, those who can not worship and those who are gathering together in a variety of ways this day.  May your Church be courageous in standing up and speaking out for justice; hope filled in its words and actions; faithful in service to you; and joy filled in sharing your Good News for all.  And clothe us with mercy and grace to love unconditionally and impartially just as you love.

YHWH, you are our shepherd: we want nothing more.

O God you are our shepherd, just as you have been for countless generations before and will be for countless generations to come, help us to live in the fullness of that wonder today and all the days of our lives.

Receive these our prayers and the prayers of our hearts which we offer in love and faith asking only that in these and all things your will be done.Amen.

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