Call to Worship
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and soul and mind.
So let us do that.
Let us bring God our hearts – all our emotional ups and downs.
Let us invite God into our souls – the very depths of who we are.
Let us honour God with our minds – in all our thinking and questions.
StF 28 – Jesus calls us
Jesus calls us here to meet him
As, through word and song and prayer,
We affirm God’s promised presence
Where his people live and care.
Praise the God who keeps his promise;
Praise the Son who calls us friends;
Praise the Spirit who, among us,
To our hopes and fears attends.
Jesus calls us to confess him,
Word of life and Lord of all,
Sharer of our flesh and frailness,
Saving all who fail or fall.
Tell his holy human story;
Tell his tales that all may hear;
Tell the world that Christ in glory
Came to earth to meet us here.
Jesus calls us to each other
Vastly different though we are,
Creed and colour, class and gender;
Neither limit nor debar.
Join the hand of friend and stranger;
Join the hands of age and youth;
Join the faithful and the doubter
In their common search for truth.
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
The authority of Jesus questioned
23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you this authority?’
24 Jesus replied, ‘I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?’
They discussed it among themselves and said, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will ask, “Then why didn’t you believe him?” 26 But if we say, “Of human origin”– we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.’
27 So they answered Jesus, ‘We don’t know.’
Then he said, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
The parable of the two sons
28 ‘What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard.”
29 ‘“I will not,” he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
30 ‘Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, “I will, sir,” but he did not go.
31 ‘Which of the two did what his father wanted?’
‘The first,’ they answered.
Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
Prayer of confession
Faithful God, when we are too proud or too stubborn to change our minds and our ways: please forgive us.
When we make good choices but then change our minds when things get tough: please forgive us.
When we judge others when they change their minds and underestimate the courage it takes: please forgive us.
When we believe it is too late to change and miss the opportunities we could embrace: please forgive us.
So that we may change for the better and for the right reasons, in Jesus’ name.
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
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.
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.
StF 333 – Majesty, worship his majesty
Majesty, worship his majesty;
Unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority,
flows from his throne unto his own,
his anthem raise.
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus,
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King
Majesty, worship his majesty,
Jesus who died, now glorified,
King of all Kings.
Matthew tells this encounter between the Temple leaders and Jesus in such a way that we can feel the discomfort of the leaders in trying to ask Jesus where his authority comes from and to answer his question about the authority of John the Baptist.
We probably all know that feeling of having a question we want answered but knowing that in order to get the answer we want, we have to approach the topic indirectly.
Jesus is not the Messiah that everyone else is looking for – they want a strong military leader who can help them escape from the oppression of the Romans, rather than this preacher from the countryside who seemingly has no resources or power. But something about Jesus makes them wonder… Does he have authority? That is their great concern. If Jesus has power, where does that leave their privilege?
Rather than answering the Temple leaders’ question about authority, Jesus asks them where they think John the Baptist got his authority. This puts them in a dilemma, they know that John was popular with the people and they don’t want to upset the crowd, so they say they don’t know.
Jesus then tells a story about sons who say one thing and do something different. One son tells his father he will help in the vineyard but doesn’t actually do anything. The other son says he won’t help but changes his mind and does go. We think that Jesus is referring to the chief priests of the Temple, who were imposing harsh rules on the ordinary people, rather than helping everyone to worship God Jesus is letting people know that they can change their mind and do the right thing, even if they began by saying “no”.
Changing our mind about important aspects of life can be difficult, but Jesus will be walking alongside us. Discerning when it’s right to change our mind can be tricky. Asking for help is often important- both from God and from the people around you.
Prayers of intercession
Gracious God we bring before you, all those we know who are in particular need of yours and our love, care and attention.
We bring before you the political and military problems we have created.
We acknowledge our part in the climate crisis and ask your help in making change happen.
StF 354 – Jesus is the name
Jesus is the name we honour;
Jesus is the name we praise.
Majestic name above all other names,
the highest heaven and earth proclaim
that Jesus is our Lord.
Chorus: we will glorify, we will lift him high,
we will give him honour and praise.
We will glorify, we will lift him high,
we will give him honour and praise.
Jesus is the name we worship;
Jesus is the name we trust.
He is the King above all other kings,
let all creation stand and sing
that Jesus is our God.
Jesus is the Father’s splendour;
Jesus is the Father’s joy.
He will return to reign in majesty,
and every eye at last shall see
that Jesus is our God.
God of all truth, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are the source of all positive change;
you are the bringer of all lasting healing;
you are the inspirer of all life-giving choices;
you are the dismantler of all stubbornness;
you are the provider of all opportunities.
So, we worship and adore you
with our hearts, our minds and our lives.