Sunday, 11th October

Together in Prayer

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare you praise!

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.


As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.

Preparing our hearts
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Reading: Matthew 22:1-14
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven
may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are

Thought for the week: Rev Sarah Hobbs
The very thought of receiving an invitation seems but a distant memory to most of us, so I wonder how we might react. First of all there’s the anticipation of the joy such an invitation might bring, then there’s always that question of what to wear and a thought about the delicious food we may expect. On the other hand it might be just more thing for us to cope with right now and we can’t work up any enthusiasm. Jesus knows us so well; we’re already involved with his parable.

But then we realise that this invitation is like no other because Jesus is inviting us, and clearly has been throughout the centuries, to enter into the joy of God’s wedding banquet with his church. He is inviting us to come, and to be a part of all that he is doing with us. I appreciate that when I’m taking a wedding service the congregation are a very important part of that occasion. Most of all they come with their enthusiasm to add joy, they come to pledge their support for the couple both now and throughout their lives together. Surely that’s what Jesus is inviting us to do, to come with the anticipation of joy and the willingness to support all that will happen.

During this parable we detect an undertone of ambivalence from his guests, not only to the invitation itself but to the effort it will need for them to respond, prepare, and dress-up ready to give themselves to the celebration. For us, who might have sent out invitations in the past, we sense that huge feeling of disappointment, even anger, at this lethargy. There is some urgency for God’s invitation now, the feast is ready, and we know in hindsight that Jesus’ life is coming to an end. So at the last minute the invitation is opened up to all of us to enter into God’s celebration of his feast.

We may not have expected to be invited; we may not really know quite why we have come except to accept the invitation but most importantly we need to come prepared to join in putting on the marriage garment of Christian joy of heart, ‘the fruits of the Spirit being love, joy, peace patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. Then and only then are we ready to participate in the feast.

Collect for the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity
Almighty and everlasting 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 your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Lord your mercy reaches to the heavens,
your goodness knows no end.
Let your love and peace be known among us,
that we may draw others to worship you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We give thanks for our faith, and pray for all who struggle in
the work of the gospel,
for those who preach the word and administer the sacraments.
We pray for a gentleness and graciousness
in our mission and outreach.
We remember those who work amongst the outcasts,
the poor and those ill.
We pray for all who strive to bring in your peace.
Lord, by your power and your presence
Provide us with peace.

We pray for all troubled areas of the world,
that wars may cease and that we may find a lasting peace.
We pray for the peacemakers of our world.
We remember all who have suffered through war.
all who have been injured,
all who may have lost loved ones.
We pray for those whose memories are scarred by violence.
Lord, by your power and your presence
Provide us with peace.

We pray that our homes may be places of peace and healing.
We pray for all who are suffering from broken relationships.
We pray for reconciliation and healing where peoples are divided,
that we may live at peace with all people.
Lord, by your power and your presence
Provide us with peace.

We pray for all who are distressed,
for the over-anxious and the fearful,
for the troubled in body, mind, or spirit,
for all who are over-tense or uptight,
for all who find it hard to relax or let go.
We pray for all whose peace is disturbed
by the violence or carelessness of others,
We give thanks for all who passed through death
and are at peace in your presence
We pray for friends and loved ones departed from us,
especially for …….
May we with them share in the peace of your everlasting kingdom.
Lord, by your power and your presence

You may wish to add your own prayers at this time.
As our Saviour taught us, so 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.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.

The Peace
Accept God’s peace, think of peace,
speak of peace, act in peace,
pray for peace;
and the peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

The Blessing
The peace of the Father be yours,
the peace of the Saviour be yours,
the peace of the Spirit be yours;
and may the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you now and always.