22 October 2014
Hymn: I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Theme: God Our Maker
Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you have said to me, “Bring up this people”; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.” 13Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.’ 14He said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ 15And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.’ 17 The Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.’ 18Moses said, ‘Show me your glory, I pray.’ 19And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’ 21And the Lord continued, ‘See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.’
The Lord our Maker called and chose Christians around the world to be distinct. This is not because we are better or more righteous than others, because the Scripture makes it clear that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but for the grace of God. Our distinctiveness as Christians stems from the fact that we answered the call of God to new life in Christ. We have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb, forgiven, redeemed and accepted as joint-heirs with Christ. Such privilege is not without responsibilities; as God’s chosen ones we are expected to show forth His love and grace to everyone around us. We should live exemplary lives through which the gospel of Christ will reach non-Christians. Although this may be difficult sometimes, with the power of the Holy Spirit, our light will shine and people in our lives will experience God’s love through us, and will give all glory to our Heavenly Father.
1. In what ways is the Christian life distinct?
Refrain: The Lord our God is the Holy one.
The Lord is king; let the people tremble; he is enthroned upon the Cherubim; let the earth shake. The Lord is great in Zion; he is high above all peoples. Let them confess his name, which is great and awesome; he is the Holy One. R "O mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob." Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and fall down before his footstool; he is the Holy One. R Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among those who call upon his name, they called upon the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them. R "O Lord our God, you answered them indeed; you were a God who forgave them, yet punished them for their evil deeds." Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God and worship him upon his holy hill; for the Lord our God is the Holy One. R
Refrain: The Lord our God is the Holy one.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. 2 We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
1 Peter 2:1-10
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. 2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture: ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ 7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner’, 8and ‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2. What are the lessons for us in Matthew 22:15-22 regarding being distinct?
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ 21They answered, ‘The emperor’s.’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due to them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honour to whom honour is due.
3. What are some of the obstacles to being distinct? How do we overcome them?
‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. 14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their stumbling salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israeljealous. 12Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their defeat means riches for Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! 13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I glorify my ministry 14in order to make my own peoplejealous, and thus save some of them. 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead! 16If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree,18do not vaunt yourselves over the branches. If you do vaunt yourselves, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you. 19You will say, ‘Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.’ 20That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. 22Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness towards you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23And even those of Israel, if they do not persist in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.
2 Timothy 2:11-26
The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 16Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, 17and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’ 20 In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. 22Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.23Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, 25correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
May our light shine through the power of the Holy Spirit, that people in our lives will experience God’s love through us, and give all glory to our Heavenly Father.
The Collect (for Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost)
Almighty and everliving God, increase in us your gift of faith, that forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to what is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Eternal God, your word inspires our faith. May we who offer you our praise trust you in all things. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
Eucharistic Prayer 1
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right that we should praise you, gracious God, for you created all things. You formed us in your own image: male and female you created us. When we turned away from you in sin, you did not cease to care for us, but opened a path of salvation for all people. You made a covenant with Israel,
and through your servants Abraham and Sarah gave the promise of a blessing to all nations. Through Moses you led your people from bondage into freedom; through the prophets you renewed your promise of salvation. Therefore, with them, and with all your saints who have served you in every age, we give thanks and raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Holy God, source of life and goodness, all creation rightly gives you praise. In the fullness of time, you sent your Son Jesus Christ, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all. He healed the sick and ate and drank with outcasts and sinners; he opened the eyes of the blind and proclaimed the good news of your kingdom to the poor and to those in need. In all things he fulfilled your gracious will.
On the night he freely gave himself to death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Gracious God, his perfect sacrifice destroys the power of sin and death; by raising him to life you give us life for evermore. Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.
Recalling his death, proclaiming his resurrection, and looking for his coming again in glory, we offer you, Father, this bread and this cup. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts, that all who eat and drink at this table may be one body and one holy people, a living sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Breaking of the Bread
Creator of all,
you gave us golden fields of wheat,
whose grains we have gathered
and made into this one bread.
So may your Church be gathered
from the end of the earth
into your kingdom.
The gifts of God for the People of God.
Thanks be to God.
Prayer after Communion
God of peace, you have nourished us in this sacrament with the body and blood of Christ. May we who have taken holy things keep faith in our hearts and lives, in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.
May love, joy and peace be yours in abundance; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Go forth in the name of Christ.
Thanks be to God.