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Worship Sheet for Sunday 11 October – No elitism please

Being uninvited to a wedding is sadly not uncommon these days but Matt 22 gives us another take – a king dismissing the elite, opening his feast to many - points not to our deserving but acceptance in Jesus by grace.
Call: Invited and accepted, not by right or deserving, but by grace, the free gift of God; Belonging and loved, not by courting favour or seeking to impress, but because Jesus forgives and accepts; Given a place and a purpose, not by wheeling and dealing, but because Jesus counts us as his sisters and brothers and sets us free to love and serve. Let us worship God.

Mini Service
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Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray: Lord, we live in a very mixed up world, made all the worse because of the impact of this awful virus. While there have been wonderful stories of people putting themselves out for neighbours, strangers and love coming to the fore, all too often we circle the wagons and defend our own interests. Draw near to us today and remind us that your values rise above self and centre on love. Forgive us all our failings and shortcomings, particularly as we ignore the plight of those who suffer most, often away from public gaze or concern. Remind us that your Son came to bring good news to all people, to the outcasts, rejected and vulnerable more than any. Let your Spirit work in us to change attitudes and actions that we may be aligned to your purposes of love and grace through Jesus who taught us to pray together: Our Father

Read or print the Passage for the week by clicking this link:
Matthew 22:1-14 The king’s banquet – invitations by grace not deserving.
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Read or Print the Sermon by clicking this link            
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Thought: Sadly, couples have had to postpone their wedding or guests due to numbers being curtailed. It’s all very upsetting and fraught with difficulty. Disappointing though it is, few would risk having a large gathering that might result in family and friends becoming ill or worse. The parable is view today isn’t easy to understand though would have been clearer in the 1st century. Weddings and banquets were for the elite – a place for business and reinforcing relationships (and the pecking order). More akin to Al Pacino’s “Godfather” with its underworld intrigue than a happy family party. It’s where you kept your friends close and your enemies closer. To disrespect the king was a major offence, and in that context killing his servants a sign of rebellion. Odd to us but recognisable then. What was odd to them was the king opening up his party to the wider population – unheard of for people who had no influence to be invited. And then the odd rejection of one guest being thrown out for not wearing the right attire. Not because he had no tie, or her skirt was too short – it would have been more like us gatecrashing without an invitation, being turned away at the border without a passport. What are the real lessons for us? No place for elitism in the kingdom of God or the Church. It’s not who we know or what we have going for us, it’s not our deserving at all. It is acceptance by God our heavenly Father freely, in and through Jesus his Son. Nothing in my hand I bring simply to thy cross I cling. God invites us all – but we’ve to come in Jesus’ name, not pretending we deserve acceptance. But in Jesus we are accepted and set free.

Praise: CH4 510 Jesus calls us here to meet him v 1-3
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray: Heavenly Father, teach us to accept others as you accept us – simply in the love of Jesus. Remove from us the blinkers, the barriers that foster prejudice and perpetuate injustice. Open us to the welcoming grace of Jesus and help us to share it generously with others, removing obstacles to building communities of love and grace in a world whose values are often grounded on greed and self-interest. Help us to reach out to a world in need – to share the grace gifts of love and service, to welcome and share. Bless esp those suffering, locally or far afield; those bearing more of the load; the sick and sorrowing, the lonely and fearful, those normally ignored; Bless those who lead, those who care, those trying to provide for their families, those struggling at work or without work. Bless too your people as we seek to live out and share our faith in difficult times. [In our prayer walk we remember all who live and work in George St]. SILENCE
Lord hear our prayers spoken and unspoken and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Blessing May the Lord bless you. Amen.