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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
7th August 2022

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 reguar 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 remember what we should be looking for above all else.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

Use your mouse to scroll through the contents of each window.

Clicking on the buttons across the tops of the windows below will allow you to zoom in\out,

search, switch to full screen, print, and download the contents to your computer.


The Pewsheet:

Call to Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

 

We meet in the name of Jesus,

Word made flesh,
saviour of fallen humanity, lover of all. Amen.

 

We meet in the name of the Holy Spirit,

Lord and giver of life,
midwife of new humanity,
inspirer of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness

(click the "play" button, below:)

00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence for the Day

 

God chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all creation.

The Prayer for the Day (Collect)

 

Let us pray together.

God our treasure, the reign of your love and justice is your gift;  light our lamps against the darkness, and equip us for your action, so we are ready and do not miss your coming;  through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

A reading from The Old Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Isaiah 1:1,10-20
00:00 / 03:36

A reading from The New Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Heb 11:1-3,8-16
00:00 / 02:41

Pause for a moment of silent reflection.

The Gradual Hymn

 

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing along with this beautiful hymn.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Gospel Reading, Luke 12:32-40

(click the "play" button, below:)

Luke 12:32-40
00:00 / 02:13

Listen to the sermon:
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin)

sermon_220807_ORDINARY19_Do Not Be Afraid !
00:00 / 10:02

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

SERMON : ORDINARY 19 (LUKE 12:32-40) 7th AUGUST 2022

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>

I am told that the most popular Bible app, for those of us who cannot be separated from our phones, is called “You Version”. It is available in more than 60 languages and is installed on over 500 million devices worldwide.

 

Like many apps, “You version” collects statistics and in most years the most popular Scripture verse has been John 3:16 (“For god so loved the world …”). However, after two years of pandemic, currently, the most popular verse is the Scripture that was our “Sentence” last Sunday … Isaiah 41:10 (“So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”) <PAUSE>

 

As always, our gospel readings are so rich, so  deep, so insightful for us. As always, this humble preacher wrestles with how to speak to such wondrous words and keep his message to around ten minutes!

 

This week, I thought I would allow last Sunday’s sentence to lead us into this week’s gospel and I’ll limit myself to the first four words of Jesus in this passage, “Do not be afraid …”

 

Let’s be honest, the last two years have been challenging, some would say, terrible years. They stirred up a lot of our fears and anxieties; precipitated divisions in society, and had us locked in so we couldn’t see family and friends. In our humanity, it should come as no surprise that these events were going to stir up some deep fears for both the present and the future. <PAUSE>.

 

The great existentialist philosophers, like Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Nietzsche, respond with … yeah, life is absurd, we’re afraid all the time, get used to it !

 

Yet, when Christians say, “do not be afraid”, it witnesses something that only Christianity proclaims : God's own journey into the heart of humanity and what frightens us the most.

 

It's only our faith that gives us the capacity to say “do not be afraid” even in the face of a pandemic and the challenges that lie ahead in an uncertain future.

 

When you read the Old Testament you’ll see time and time again, “Don’t be afraid”, “Have no fear”, “Don't worry”, “Don't be anxious”. Then at that glorious point between the old covenant the new covenant, the angel Gabriel comes to Mary and he tells her, “Do not be afraid” and then we see Jesus picking up that thread throughout the rest of the New Testament and as we hear today, “Do not be afraid, little flock …” <PAUSE>

 

Another interesting statistic I got by using “You Version” is that there are 365 references in Holy Scripture to “Do not be afraid” - yes, one for every day of the year.

 

Why does God have to keep reminding us to not be afraid? Perhaps it is because we are finite beings and to be “finite”, and to know it, is to be anxious or afraid. To know that we live in a particular time and for a specific length of time produces anxiety.

 

Yes, time is only going in one direction and - yes again, as you’ve all noticed, I'm not getting any younger! I'm getting older, and because I exist in a specific time-frame, I am (we are) heading towards death ….. and there's nothing I (we) can do to stop that.

 

Therefore to live in a time-frame is to live with the certainty of an uncertain future.

Can that produce anxiety, yes; can that produce fear, yes

 

The answer that those existentialists give, “Get Used To it” is NOT the answer that our faith gives US because The Bible takes us beyond our finite nature.

 

Christ takes us to the reality of God who goes far, FAR beyond this limitation …

 

God is NOT in time - God is eternal ! <PAUSE>

 

God keeps reminding us of this with the words “Do not be afraid.” <PAUSE>

 

This is REAL spiritual power. It’s God saying … you can’t save yourself from your finite existence, another human being can’t save you from your finite existence, Christ says that only in God will your soul be at rest. <PAUSE>

 

So, when I orientate my life, not to my own ego, or anything else in this world BUT … only when I orientate my life to God … will my soul be at peace, be at rest.

 

This is so important, let me repeat the point : The only solution to my human fear and anxiety is to order my life to that which transcends my finite existence - … namely to the infinity of God.

 

That's why, from the heart of the bible comes, again and again, don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid. The voice of God and listening to that voice is why we are able to endure pandemics, and walk boldly into an uncertain future. <PAUSE>

 

So bring before our God our anxieties and fears,

listen to Christ’s voice “Do Not Be Afraid” with relief, and

leave in amazement, gratitude, grace and peace.

 

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 <AMEN>

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 speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith
 

Let us affirm our faith by listening as "The Apostles Creed" is read to us.
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to listen) 

apostles creed AD
00:00 / 01:03

 ... and now ... let us pray for the Church and for the World, giving thanks for God's goodness.

(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin) 

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The Lord's Prayer

 

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ has taught 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.

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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

 

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

 

In closing our service let us raise our voices in praise and celebration by singing along with our final hymn.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

Dismissal

 

Go now to love and serve The Lord,

Go in peace.

 

Amen, we go in the name of Christ.

Are you missing Holy Communion? Click here.

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