Everyone is Invited (11 Oct 2020)

11 Oct 2020 by Paul Bartlett in: Worship Services: 2020


We meet for worship as the gathered and scattered people of God.
We celebrate Christ Jesus, the light of the world. Thanks be to God!
We also acknowledge that where each of us live is on the land of the Dharawal people.
We acknowledge their 40,000 years of ongoing stewardship of God’s Creation
We pledge to be ambassadors of reconciliation, justice and peace.
You are all welcome, as we worship God this day.

CHRIST CANDLE    Darkness is strong, but light is stronger. Christ is the Light of the world and not even death has overcome His light. Praise be to God whose light gives hope to all the world.

Come to the wedding banquet of life where Christ brings good gifts to share in abundance.
Come and receive the blessing of God whose way is love.
Generous God, you provide for the needs of the world, providing food, shelter and justice.
Having invited us to the wedding banquet of life, you call us to do the same with those we meet.
You do not discriminate but seek the best for all – especially those without a voice, the poor and disadvantaged. We praise you for your goodness and grace, we are overwhelmed by the hospitality you offer. You call us to offer hospitality, goodness and grace to all whom we meet.
All glory and honour be given to you, loving God, giver of abundant life. Amen

HYMN:All are Welcome’    
Let us build a house, where love can dwell, and all can safely live

A place where saints and children tell, how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace;

Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

All are welcome, all are welcome, All are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words are strong and true,

Where all God's children dare to seek, to dream God's reign anew.

Here the cross shall stand as witness and a symbol of God's grace;

Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:

All are welcome, all are welcome, All are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found, in water, wine and wheat:

A banquet hall on holy ground, where peace and justice meet.

Here the love of God, through Jesus, is revealed in time and space;

As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:

All are welcome, all are welcome, All are welcome in this place.

Loving God, who calls us to dwell in your being, we are confronted by how great are our shortcomings and how easily we take for granted all you have given us. We think that worship is optional and that gathering together is, often, an inconvenience in the busyness of our daily lives. We think that we can serve you and know you anywhere and forget that we are the body of Christ, that when we gather in your Name the fulness of the gifts of the Spirit are realised.
Forgive us, that too often You become an optional extra in our lives rather than the most important reality we can know. Help us to come to your banquet hall with humble and grateful hearts, to know you and to live in you. This we pray in the name of Christ. Amen

BIBLE READING Philippians 4: 1 – 9 (NRSV) Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

REFLECTION 1         Inspired by Eugene Petersen’s The Message
My dear, dear friends, I love you so much. I want the very best for you. I urge Euodia and Syntyche to look for and find the Christ present in each of their lives. God doesn’t want his children nurturing grudges. And my dear colleague in ministry, since you’re right there help them work things out, with dignity & honour. For these women’s names are also in the Book of Life.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, seek God in prayer. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. It’s wonderful what can happen when Christ displaces worry and anxiety at the centre of our lives.
In summary: fill your waking and sleeping on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling and gracious—not on the things that aren’t any of these. Put into practice what you learned from me and God’s Peace will transform your daily lives.

HYMN TIS 464 ‘Seek O seek the Lord
Morialta UC (Adelaide) Katrina Mackenzie 16 October 2016

Seek, O seek the Lord, while he is near
Trust him, speak to him in prayer
And he will hear.

God be with us in our lives, direct us in our calling
Break the snares the world contrives, keep us from falling

God, increase in us the life, that Christ by dying gave us
Though we faint in mortal strife, his blood will save us.

Strengthen in our hearts the love, we owe to one another
How can we love God above, and not each other?

James Phillip McAuley 1917 – 1976

BIBLE READING Matthew 22:1 - 10 (NRSV)        
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.
In this is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!

REFLECTION 2                All are welcome!

Many years ago, Janene and I sent out our wedding invitations. We had friends and family in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne & South Australia. Who should we invite? Just those we thought might be able to come given the distance? We decided to invite all whom we could, just in case!
Preparing that list was an amazing experience, inviting those who we would enjoy the company of, whose lives had already been a blessing to ours. What a privilege it was to have them there!

If we were preparing that list, say for our 50th wedding anniversary in a few years-time, if they were all alive, then those we would invite would number in the hundreds, it would be a taste of heaven, to be with all whose lives have touched ours. Our annual Christmas letter is a bit like that!

There is also in this parable, an insight into and a promise of that heavenly banquet to come prepared for all who love the Lord. But primarily, set as this reading is amongst the widening of those invited to include not just those of the Jewish faith, those whom Jesus first expected to attend ‘his party’ but Gentiles too! Amidst his deep disappointment and grief, we discover just how large is Jesus’ heart, just how much room there are in God’s house and heart.

We then hear this amazing command. Go into the streets and invite everyone you find! What?
No sinners confession “do you repent of your sins?” no, “Is Jesus your Lord & Saviour?”
While there has to be some recognition by those invited that it is the King who invites them – the One who made them in His image…but that’s a general acknowledgment – a first step in faith like asking ‘do you believe in God?’ a “yes” to that is enough for Jesus, an invitation simply offered. The following and the learning will come as we follow Him and as we are fed in His banquet hall.

So what is it we’re invited to do? Just invite everyone you’ll meet down the street. No need to climb a mountain or travel across a desert, looking just for just the right people; just go into the neighbourhood where you live, it is filled with people going about their daily lives.
And the Scriptures tell us that all manner of people came and the banquet hall was full.

People will respond if we ask, if we reach out, take the time to find them, take the time to listen & take an interest in them and their lives. What an invitation we are given! Praise be to God! Amen

GUEST SEGMENT – Hindra Sulaksono
Program Manager, South East Asia Regional Office, Bali - UnitingWorld    

EUC’s Project: Timor Leste – Leadership & Child Protection

HYMN TIS 474 Gather us In

Here in this place new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away
See, in this space, our fears and our dreamings, brought here to you in the light of this day.

Gather us in, the lost and forsaken, gather us in, the blind and the lame
Call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name.

We are the young, our lives are a mystery, we are the old, who yearn for your face
We have been sung through-out all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.

Gather us in, the rich and the haughty, gather us in, the proud and the strong
Give us a heart, so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song.

Here we will take of the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth
Here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us a-new to be salt of the earth.

Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you
Nourish us well, and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true.

Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven light years away
But here in this space, the new light is shining, now is the kingdom, now is the day.

Gather us in, and hold us forever, gather us in, and make us your own
Gather us in, all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.

Words and music by permission GLA Publications Inc Chicago, Illinois. Marty Haugen 1950 -


Prayers for each other shared over a cuppa in each of our homes