We welcome everyone to our services at Yetholm (10am) and Morebattle (11.15am). Visitors please sign our Visitors’ book.
Call to Worship
Let us sing to the LORD a new song.
We will bless God’s name from day to day.
Let us declare God’s marvellous deeds among all the peoples;
For God is great and greatly to be praised.
Let us praise God for God’s strength and beauty.
We will bring God honour and glory
Hymn 127 – O worship the King (1,2,5,6)
God our Creator, Source of all being, we celebrate this Life you have made, in all its wonder and interdependence, and we praise you.
Guide of all hope, we celebrate the Way you show us, in Jesus - our Saviour and Exemplar, and we praise you.
Spirit of all inspiration, we celebrate the goodness you grow and nurture in our lives and world, and we praise you.
Holy One, awed by your goodness we recognise our own smallness… We acknowledge the times when our selfishness has damaged this earth. We acknowledge the times when our prejudice or apathy has injured others. We acknowledge the times when our fear, isolation or self-loathing has injured ourselves. With humility, grace and courage, we turn to you knowing your faithfulness and love have no limits and ask you to transform our despair into new opportunity. Help us to turn away from our destructiveness and work with your Spirit to create new life. We unite our prayers together in the Lord’s Prayer using the form or words which are most worshipful for us…Our Father…
Readings – 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (pg 1186)
Matthew 22: 15-22 (pg 990)
Hymn SGP 111 – We are one in the Spirit
Who made us in your image and calls us by name. May we be imitators of you, that people may know we are Christians by the way we live our lives.
In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
Storm Babet has worked its course. Apparently, it was named after someone in the Netherlands, involved in forecasting weather. I wonder how she feels about being associated with a storm that brought misery to some. Names conjure up images. Attila or Tamerlane may have been nice to animals, but their names evoke pictures of terror and destruction. Bu there might be other names which conjure up images of goodness and love. In the 7th Century when Oswald was king in Northumbria, he requested a bishop be sent from Iona to help him establish Christianity in his kingdom. Corman was sent from Iona but he found the people of Northumbria to be intractable, obstinate and uncivilized. Back on Iona, Aiden suggested that a more nurturing approach be taken, resulting in Aiden being sent to establish a monastic centre on Lindisfarne.
The nurturing approach Aiden took had a memorable impact on the people he met. He became known as a leader who was committed to abstinence and care for others. Riches or luxuries which came into his
possession were often given away to those in need. He used gifts of money to free people from slavery, many of whom he then brought to the monastery to work, offering them education and opportunity. There is a famous story of Aiden being gifted a fine horse with royal trappings which he gave away (trappings and all) to a beggar he met on the road.
For Aiden the purpose of his life and the opportunities which fell his way, were to glorify God by living Jesus’ way of love. People who encountered Aiden saw his resemblance to Jesus and the God of Jesus, in the love which he showed; love which set aside his own status and ease, for the care and concern of people in greater need, and in doing so to brought glory to the God of Jesus. Even Aiden’s opponents recognised God’s family resemblance in him.
In the reading from Matthew today we heard a story of the religious leaders trying to catch Jesus out, which he turned into a much bigger question,
which catches us all out. The leaders asked Jesus a simple but clever question, was it right to pay taxes to the Romans. There was an unholy alliance against Jesus, as the Pharisees and Herodians couldn’t stand each other, but they hated Jesus more. The Pharisees were against paying taxes, but the Herodians were the government party, so were for it. Whichever answer Jesus gave would have made him anti-Roman OR pro Roman. They had caught Jesus this time surely. But Jesus asked whose image was on the coin. The image was that of Caesar Augustus. Jesus said, Give unto Caesar the things that are the Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. He escaped the trap, confounded his opponents but also uttered something profound.
It raises questions on our duty to the state and our duty to God, especially for Christians living in oppression or where they disagree with the actions of the state. Jesus wasn’t arguing for sedition. Throughout his life Jesus challenged the injustice of prejudice, exploitation and greed, but it seems he did so by changing attitudes more than directly campaigning to change systems. I do not
think this means as Jesus followers we are not to engage with building systems which are just and protect the vulnerable, but we need to recognise that systems will always be contextual and temporary, while the shaping values of love and justice come from the heart of God and are eternal.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, praising them for imitating Christ and being models for the churches around. They were living out their faith, and people around were noticing it. How do we do that today? How do we perceive our lives, our bodies, our resources, as tools to bring glory and honour to the One whose image we reflect and to whom we belong? Aiden certainly did not perceive his life or material wealth as tools for his own glory but gifts to share the love of God in the world. Through Aiden’s loving actions, God was recognised and glorified by friends, strangers and opponents alike. The challenge is there for us – to be like the Thessalonians and imitate God, for we bear God’s image. We belong to God.
Hymn 616 – There’s a spirit in the air
Dedication of Offering
God of abundance, we bring what we have to share, a portion of your goodness to us. Bless our gifts and our lives, so that generosity and justice will join hands, and your goodness touches those in need, in Jesus’ name.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
God of our hearts and our hopes,
As the season changes and the land prepares for winter, we thank you for autumn goodness,
for brilliant colours, birds flying south, the crackle of fallen leaves and the taste of this year’s harvest.
We are grateful for your steadfast love amid so much that changes.
We pray for the world, for places where despair is great and where your creation groans in pain. We especially pray for Israel and Palestine; for those killed and injured in the attacks by Hamas and by those killed and injured by rockets from Israel into Gaza. We think of all on both sides whose homes are destroyed or who have had to move. We pray for all those who have worked for peace and reconciliation who are struggling with issues of trust and hope.
We pray for the leaders of the world to act with integrity and seek a solution.
We recognise that there is conflict in many other places in the world, such as Yemen, Iraq, Ethiopia and ask that your peace and healing come to these and other places, where we can see that they are all children of God, all valid, equal and worthy of love, compassion and understanding.
We pray for the Church, here today and across the world. We are able to worship openly, to read Scripture. Help us never to be ashamed of our faith and to have the desire to deepen our discipleship. Help us remember that we have siblings in faith around the world who are persecuted or being tortured, imprisoned and killed for their faith in you. We pray for them, acknowledge their bravery and thank you for their devotion to you. Give us the strength to be like them, to step out in faith boldly and to work to deepen our discipleship and understanding of you so that we can better serve you in the world.
God of comfort and compassion,
We pray for all those who are struggling this autumn, whatever the reason. We remember before you those facing illness or waiting for treatment,…
those who worry about winter expenses or finding shelter,… those who are grieving the loss of someone close,… and those whose mental health is under pressure these days… Awaken us to the needs of those at risk in our communities and help us respond with your comfort and compassion
Hymn 167 – Guide me , O thou great Jehovah
Walk in the presence of God this week, watching for signs of God’s Spirit at work around you.
And so may God bless you and keep you;
God be kind and gracious to you;
may God look upon you with favour
and bring you joy and peace, now and forevermore.