Sunday Worship 3rd October

The Anglican Parish of Greater Hastings


(encompassing St Matthew’s, Hastings, and St Peter’s, Riverslea)
Christian communities in the heart of Hastings

Christian communities in the heart of Hastings

3rd October 2021
A Service of Morning Prayer

for the
27th Sunday of Ordinary Time


The Preparation:

Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise.

Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom,
thanksgiving and honour, power and might,
be to our God for ever and ever!   Amen.

Hymn: Praise my soul the King of heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
to his feet your tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
evermore his praises sing.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King!

Praise him for his grace and favour
to his people in distress.
Praise him, still the same as ever,
slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glorious in his faithfulness!

Fatherlike he tends and spares us;
well our feeble frame he knows.
In his hand he gently bears us,
rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Widely yet his mercy flows!

Angels, help us to adore him;
you behold him face to face.
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace! 


E te whānau a te Karaiti / Brothers and sisters in Christ,
let us praise and worship God who has called us together.
Let us celebrate God’s majesty,
and delight in the wonder of God’s love.
Let us confess our sins
and receive assurance that we are forgiven.

As the scriptures are read,
we can allow God’s word to speak to us,
and ponder its meaning for our lives.

In our prayers, we give thanks for God’s goodness,
we pray for others as well as for ourselves,
and we offer our lives anew in Christ’s service.

All this we do,
because we believe in the presence among us
of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.

If we claim to be sinless,
we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth.

If we confess our sins,
God is just and may be trusted to forgive our sins
and cleanse us from every kind of wrong.

Spirit of God, search our hearts.



In silence, we remember our need for God’s forgiveness.

Let us confess our sins to God.
God of mercy,
we have sinned against you and against others.
We have sinned in what we have done,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for our sins,
forgive us all that is past
and raise us to newness of life. Amen.


Almighty God, who pardons all who truly repent,
forgive our sins, strengthen us by the Holy Spirit,
and keep us in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.


Psalm 26


Give judgment O Lord in my favour,

  for I have walked the way of integrity:

  and I have put unwavering trust in the Lord.

Examine me O Lord and try me:

  put my heart and my mind to the test.

For your steadfast love is ever before my eyes:

  and I walk in the way of your faithfulness.

I do not sit down with people who are false:

  nor do I consort with hypocrites.

I hate the company of wrongdoers:

  and will not sit with the wicked.

I wash my hands in innocence O Lord:

  and so will I go around your altar,

singing a song of thanksgiving:

  and proclaiming all your wonders.

Lord I love the house you have made your home:

  the place where your glory dwells.

Do not sweep me away with sinners:

  nor my life with those who thirst for blood,

whose fingers are active in mischief:

  and whose right hand is full of bribes.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

A Reading from Job 1:1; 2:1-10

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God.

The Song of Zechariah

Blessed are you O Lord our God:

   you have come to your people and set them free.

You have raised up for us a mighty Saviour:

   born of the house of your servant David.

Through your holy prophets you promised of old:

   that you would save us from our enemies,

   from the hands of all who hate us.

You promised to show mercy to our forbears:

   and to remember your holy covenant.

This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham:

   to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

free to worship you without fear:

   holy and righteous in your sight all the days of our life.

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High:

   for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,

to give God’s people knowledge of salvation:

   through the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God:

   the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death:

   and to guide our feet into the way of peace.    

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:

   as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever.  Amen.


A Reflection: Tough Questions

Tough questions

186 OS 27B (r)

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) Job 1:1; 2:1-10

‘There once was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.’ So begins a very powerful story. It’s powerful, because Job’s story is our story and the questions that Job asks, may be our questions – powerful, because there’s no escape into easy answers.

Here’s a man, ‘blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil’. Job is a good person who has everything, and he ends up losing almost everything – his children, his home, possessions, livelihood, and his good health. It takes just 35 verses to catapult Job from his perfect life to an ash heap, covered in oozing sores, and completely alone.

All this is set in motion because of a wager between God and a character called Satan. Ha-satan (as it is in Hebrew) means the accuser or adversary. It’s not the demonic character of later Christian thought. Ha-satan is more like God’s eyes and ears on earth – a type of divine spy.

God is rather proud of Job. But he-satan isn’t impressed. After all, look how much Job has been blessed. Clearly, he’s God’s favourite. What else does God expect? So, he-satan puts a proposition to God. Take away everything Job has and see how faithful Job is then. He will then ‘curse you to your face.’ God accepts the bet.

Don’t get side-tracked by what may seem like a rather perverted wager taking place in the heavens. This is the author’s way of setting the scene so he can explore questions that dog many of us when we face suffering for no apparent reason. If God is all-good and all-loving, how can such things happen? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Job gives voice to our experiences of loss and grief, suffering and pain – a loved one with dementia, a friend enduring a painful illness, the death of hundreds because of a pandemic. Faced we these experiences, it’s natural to ask searching questions, as did Job.

He-satan reckoned that after all Job’s experience of suffering, of loss and grief, Job would curse God. God wins the bet. Job doesn’t turn away or curse God. But the story isn’t as straightforward as that. What follows are 39 chapters of intense poetry in which we hear Job curse not God but the day he was born. He puts God on trial and suffers through the speeches of his friends who try to convince him that he’s done something wrong – that’s he’s suffering because of some sin.

Job’s friends are locked into a belief system that depends on reward and punishment. They have a tidy answer for Job’s suffering. Bad things happen to bad people. It’s a version of karma – cause and effect. Job’s losses must be a punishment for, or at least a consequence of, some un-confessed sin. But I find, that when presented with suffering, logical theories (including deeply held theological ones) are inadequate. Job’s multiple losses have left him emotionally battered and a Theology 101 tutorial isn’t the answer to a broken heart.

Job’s friends respond with these neat theological answers because it gives them a sense of control over a situation that is emotionally and spiritually chaotic. They also have a need to fix the situation – to make Job better. I often wish I could wave the magic pastoral wand and transform the dust and cinders into a happy ending – but, as we know, don’t we, we can’t. So, what can we do?

Read through Job, and you’ll see that God let’s Job rant and rave and question. That’s a gift that we can give to one another – the freedom to question without rushing in, trying to fix the hurt with slick answers and clichés. The heart must speak honestly. Our words may not change anything, but like Job, they help us not to be a victim. As Job will put it:

‘Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul’

This is reflected in these lines from Macbeth where Ross delivers to Macduff the tragic news of the murder of his wife and children. His distress seeks words and overhearing the news Malcolm urges him:

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.

Under the weight of suffering so much comes under review. Our experience may throw up questions about our deepest beliefs. The gift we can give to one another is the freedom to give our sorrow words, however tortured, questioning, or angry those words may be. Sometimes there will be no answers and all we can do is pose the questions, as Job did – ‘Where is God in all this?’ – and to keep asking it faithfully over and over—until God begins to reveal God’s self.

Job’s experience, and I’ve found it to be so in my life, is that we can be transformed through the answering silence. Sometimes, we need to simply accept that the night is dark and admit our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives. Sometimes, we need to sit through the silence, until the night heralds the dawn and the possibilities of a new day.

There was for Job however, as there is for us, someone who does understand, and that someone has been listening all along – and participating in our pain – sharing our grief and suffering … God. Elie Wiesel, in his book Night, reflecting on the experience of being imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, recounts how a child was hanged before all in the camp, slowly suffocating, too light to break his own neck: ‘Behind me, I heard a man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice within me answer him: ‘Here God is – God is hanging here on these gallows.’

In Jesus’ suffering and dying, God not only hears our questions, but shares the suffering from which they arise. Jesus doesn’t supply an intellectual answer to Job’s losses and grief, nor to his questions. But it might be said, Jesus became Job, suffering unjustly, in order, as the Letter to the Hebrews puts it, ‘by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.’

In the darkness and in the silence, we may meet the One who shares our suffering and grief, and who tasted death. In God’s world, answers don’t take the form of abstract solutions, but the form of a living embodiment of God’s suffering love.

Alister Hendery Hastings – 3.10.2021


Prayers:

Make your ways known upon earth, O God,
your saving power among all peoples.

Renew your Church in holiness,
and help us to serve you with joy.

Guide the leaders of this and every nation,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.

Let not the needy, O God, be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

Make us instruments of your peace,
and let your glory be over all the earth.

We pray for one another, for our families and friends, through whom we learn to love and to be loved. Thank you for all who care for us. Give us grace to serve Christ by serving our neighbours and our community, loving others as he loves us.

God of grace

You hear our prayer

We thank you for the unfailing love you hold out to everyone in Jesus Christ. Comfort and heal those in sorrow, need, sickness or any other trouble. Give them courage and hope in their distress, and bless those who minister to them.

God of grace

You hear our prayer

We remember with gratitude your many gifts to us in creation and the rich heritage of these islands. Help us and people everywhere to share with justice and peace the resources of the earth. Give wisdom to those in authority among us and to all leaders of the nations.

God of grace

You hear our prayer

We pray for your Church throughout the world, thanking you for all who serve Christ and his kingdom. By your Spirit strengthen your people for their work and witness in the world. Unite us in your truth and love, that we who confess your name may also reflect your glory.

God of grace

You hear our prayer

We remember with thanksgiving all who have died in Christ, and we rejoice at the faithful witness of your saints in every age, praying that we may enter with them into the unending joy of your heavenly kingdom.

God of grace

You hear our prayer

Merciful God, you look with compassion on all who turn to you.
Hear the prayers of your people.

Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

The Collect

Inclusive God,

your love is offered to the vulnerable and the powerful

and knows no limits;

open our eyes to recognise

where our words and actions exclude others,

and by your Spirit turn us to new action,

embracing all with unity and care,

so that your ways of justice and peace may be revealed.

Through Jesus Christ our Liberator,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen


Holy and everliving God,
by your power we are created
and by your love we are redeemed;
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service,
and live each day in love to one another and to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us, heavenly Father,
to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

As our Saviour Christ has taught us, we pray

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.

Or

Te Karakia o Te Atua

Kua akona nei tātou e tō tātou Ariki, ka īnoi tātou

E tō mātou Matua i te rangi
Kia tapu tōu Ingoa.
Kia tae mai tōu rangatiratanga.
Kia meatia tāu e pai ai
ki runga ki te whenua,
kia rite anō ki tō te rangi.
Hōmai ki a mātou āianei
he taro mā mātou mō tēnei rā.
Murua ō mātou hara,
Me mātou hoki e muru nei
i ō te hunga e hara ana ki a mātou.
Āua hoki mātou e kawea kia whakawaia;
Engari whakaorangia mātou i te kino:
Nōu hoki te rangatiratanga, te kaha,
me te korōria,
Āke ake ake. Āmine.

Hymn: O love that will not let go

O love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be

Oh light that follows all my way
I yield my flickering torch to thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be

Oh joy that seekest me through pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be

Oh cross that liftest up my head
I dare not ask to fly from thee
I lay in dust’s life’s glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be


The Dismissal:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all. Amen.


This copyright material for A Service of Morning Prayer is selected from
A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, (p35-52) and is used in accordance with regulations.

This service has been prepared by the team at St Matthew’s Church, Hastings,
and it is offered for individual or family use in home “bubbles” during NZ lockdown in Covid-19 Pandemic.


The words of hymns have been included as an optional extra resource for reflection,
but if you wish to sing them, tunes may be found on-line by clicking the link at each hymn.


KEEP IN TOUCH

St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Hastings
Corner King Street & Lyndon Road, Hastings

A worshipping centre within
The Anglican Parish of Greater Hastings


Parish Office Phone: 878-9476 ~ P O Box 824, Hastings 4156
email: hastingsparish@waiapu.com ~ website: www.stmattshastings.com

Parish Priest-in-Charge:
The Venerable David van Oeveren
ph 06 211 3457 / 021 470 337
email: david.vanoeveren@waiapu.com

You can also meet with us on Facebook:

Also our St Matthew’s Facebook. and

Also our St Peter’s Facebook

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