Opening prayers – (From MHA) God of all that is, we praise you for your goodness and your kindness that you bestow on your people. Throughout your word we read stories of the lowly being lifted up, the outsiders being included, your love is for all people and knows no bounds. You showed your ultimate love by coming amongst us as one of us, leaving behind all heavenly splendour to experience the joys and hurts, highs and lows, laughter and tears, hopes and disappointments. Yet you remained obedient and full of love, and lived, served and died for us. You were raised from the dead and offer us everlasting life. And so we declare your holiness, majesty and beauty that radiates from all that is around us. And we, along with all creation shout praise to you. Glory, power and praise be given to you O, God. –
Confession As we recognise your goodness and love, all that you have given to us, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, your continued presence through your Holy Spirit, we recall in our minds the things we do, think and say that fall short of all that you call us to be. As we reflect on kindness, and remember you and your words, and our experience of the past days, forgive us for times when we have chosen not to be kind, and times when we missed an opportunity to offer kindness. We think of our relationships, those close to us who we let down; those who we might not even know their name but to whom we could have been kinder; the world we inhabit and the needs of this planet and ways in which we have been unkind in caring for it.
Silence Lord forgive us, and renew us in the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you. –
Thanksgiving We give thanks for your faithfulness to us. For the outpouring of your love and grace and for all that you have promised to us. For your love that has guided us through life, and will continue to be with us. We give thanks for communities of kindness, where all are included and made to feel welcome. We give thanks for individuals who through their words and actions are a blessing to those they meet. We thank you that you call us to be part of your Kingdom in the here and now, and that you choose to work through us so that others too may be blessed.
Lord’s Prayer Hymn (Singing the Faith 256) When I needed a neighbour
Matthew 9: 35 – 10: 8 The Harvest Is Great, the Labourers Few Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’
The Twelve Apostles Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax- collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
The Mission of the Twelve These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.
Reflection More than any other disciple Matthew must have known how much it would have cost to follow Jesus, yet he didn’t hesitate and he did indeed follow him. When he left his Tax collectors booth, his only earthly guarantee was unemployment in that moment. For some of the others they could return to their old jobs of fishing but for Matthew there would never be a ‘going back’ Jesus gave him a new life from that moment and he embraced it. He was now an accepted person transformed and made new, for a despised tax collector we can only begin to imagine how he must have felt. Jesus gave Mathew a new purpose for his skill, yet the only transferable skill in that moment seemed to be his ability to record, yet God used that and Mathew became a really good recorded and we see that the gospel bears witness to that. The story that Matthew records is of Jesus journey, a story of compassion on people who are like ‘sheep without a shepherd’ and Jesus call to send out labourers into this harvest, feels very much that these times are with us again, by summoning the 12 together, he calls those he loves, trusts and gives authority to preach, to heal the sick, cast out the demons reminding them that the kingdom of God has come near. Right now, people are lonely, frightened, lost, unsure of what the future looks like and what to do for the best. Do they go out, meet with friends and family, are they safe? will they become ill? We as a church are looking at the consequence of opening up our buildings and the regulations that have to put into place and those with the gifts and skills of leaderships are being tested to make sure we can do so while offering the greatest degree of safely to all concerned. ‘The harvest is great but the labourers are few’. You may be called upon to play a different role, like Matthew as we move forward, called out of your booth into a role or position that previously you felt unprepared for. The call is on each and everyone of us as disciples and followers to listen to the voice of God, discern through prayer the right way forward, then act justly and with wisdom and grace in his name, knowing that it is through the power of God that we will be enabled to do all things and not through our own power. Amen
Prayers of intercession We prayer for the world in which we live, for those countries where lives have been lost and chaos seems to be overwhelming people We prayer for the Church as it tries to find its way forward while keeping the whole body of Christ together We prayer for the country, for the leaders that they may have wisdom, grace and feel your presence in their decision making We prayer for our communities for those front line workers those we see and those we don’t for those who have returned to work, afraid and those who have lost jobs, we pray for teachers and children returning to schools and ask your blessing on each and everyone, for those who are ill, lonely bereaved, and suffering in any way place your healing hand upon them We pray for ourselves and loved ones and all on our own hearts today – in Jesus name
Let us say the Lords prayer together Amen
Hymn (Singing the Faith 76) Give me joy in my heart
Go in love and peace to service the Lord and the blessing of God father, son and Holy spirit be with you all now and forevermore Amen