Worship for Sunday 15th October 2023, by Rev. Ken Stokes

Hymn: StF 83 Praise my soul  

  1. Praise my soul the King of heaven; 
    to his feet my tribute bring. 
    Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, 
    who like thee his praise should sing? 
    Praise him! Praise him! 
    Praise the everlasting King! 
  2. Praise him for his grace and favour 
    to his people in distress; 
    praise him, still the same forever, 
    slow to chide and swift to bless. 
    Praise him! Praise him!  
    Glorious in his faithfulness. 
  3. Father-like, he tends and spares us; 
    well our feeble frame he knows; 
    in his hands he gently bears us, 
    rescues us from all our foes. 
    Praise him! Praise him! 
    Widely as his mercy flows. 
  4. Angels in the height, adore him; 
    ye behold him face to face; 
    sun and moon bow down before him, 
    dwellers all in time and space. 
    Praise him! Praise him!  
    Praise with us the God of grace! 
    Henry Francis Lyte (1793 – 1847) 

Opening Prayer 

Let us pray, 

Lord God, you are wonderful and glorious. You are clothed in righteousness 

and splendour. You are just yet merciful, mighty yet gentle. Totally Other 

and beyond our comprehension and yet closer to us than our very breath. 

The whole of the universe and all time past, present and future belongs to 

you and yet you care to know the number of hairs on our head, such is your 

love for us. 

We stand in awe and we worship you. 

But, although we worship and adore you we do not always listen to you. We 

go our own way. We make promises to you and we fail to keep them. We 

are a rebellious people, stubborn and obstinate.  
We are like sheep who have gone astray but you have sent the Good Shepherd who searches for his sheep and brings them gently back into the fold. 

Forgive us, O Lord, our foolishness when we turn from you. Send your Holy 

Spirit into our lives, open our ears, soften our hard hearts, make us willing to 

be moulded by you so that we can be the people that you would have us be 

and so bring glory to your name, for we cannot do it without you. 

We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen 

Reading Matthew Chapter 22 verses 1-14 

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 chosen.” 
The second story in our reading today is the story about wedding clothes. One of the guests is turned out of the wedding reception because he’s not properly dressed. 

The first idea you get when you hear this  is that the King in the story behaving a bit like a bouncer at  one of those nightclubs where they won’t let you in if you are not wearing a tie. But I think this is the wrong way to think about it. 

The idea is not that this guest should have rushed down to a 1st century version of Moss Bros to hire a brand new suit. You see in the time and culture to which Jesus was speaking a wedding garment wasn’t anything special. A wedding garment could be anything.Ordinary clothes would do so long as they had been spruced up and didn’t look dirty. 

Putting on a wedding garment was about just having the decency to try to scrub up well before you turned up as a guest. 

One of the problems is that when we come to God we don’t always scrub  up well. 

We don’t get ourselves ready. By this I don’t mean by the clothes we wear but do we scrub up for God  

It is so easy to come to worship with no preparation at all. Do we prepare for worship?. Personally I don’t think God cares a jot whether we worship wearing a suit or jeans. But I think God is concerned about what we wear in our minds. 

Did we approach worship God clothed with expectation, looking out for what God might have to say to us through the songs, through the prayers and goodness knows may be even through this address? 

Did we approach worship clothed with humility wondering what God might want to tell us about the state of our lives and state our world 

Did we approach worship clothed with prayer?. Did we pray and ask God to meet with us as we worship today. 

If we haven’t clothed ourselves properly we shouldn’t be surprised if we find our selves feeling as if we have been shut out worship and that it does nothing for us.  

On the other hand if we have clothed ourselves properly, we may well find that we start to really get into worship. Worship will not be a way to while away an hour on a Sunday morning but true worship through which things can begin to happen both in our own hearts and through us, in the hearts of the people around us. 
A song to think about 

Divine Romance – Phil Wickham 

The fullness of Your grace is here with me 
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see 
The brightness of Your glory has arrived 
In Your presence, God, I’m completely satisfied 

For You, I sing, I dance, rejoice in this divine romance 
Lift my heart and my hands to show my love 
To show my love 

A deep, deep flood, an ocean flows from You 
Of deep, deep love, yeah, it’s filling up the room 
Your innocent blood had washed my guilty life 
In Your presence, God, I’m completely satisfied 

For You, I sing, I dance, rejoice in this divine romance 
Lift my heart and my hands to show my love 
To show my love 

For You, I sing, I dance, rejoice in this divine romance 
Lift my heart and my hands to show my love 
And, oh, for You, I sing, I dance, I rejoice in this divine romance 
Lift my heart and my hands to show my love 
To show my love 

To show my love 

(To show my love) 

Songwriters: Philip David Wickham. For non-commercial use only. 


When have you felt closest to God in a time of worship? 

What helped to make that time a special time? 

Have you ever felt distant from God in a time of worship? 

What do you think got in the way? 

Hymn: “Come all you vagabonds” 


  1. Come, all you vagabonds, 
    Come all you ‘don’t belongs’ 
    Winners and losers, 
    Come, people like me. 
    Come all you travellers 
    Tired from the journey, 
    Come wait a while, stay a while, 
    Welcomed you’ll be. 
  1. Come all you questioners 
    Looking for answers, 
    And searching for reasons 
    And sense in it all; 
    Come all you fallen, 
    And come all you broken, 
    Find strength for your body 
    And food for your soul. 
  1. Come to the feast, 
    There is room at the table. 
    Come let us meet in this place. 
    With the King of all kindness 
    Who welcomes us in, 
    With the wonder of love, 
    And the power of grace. 
    The wonder of the love, 
    And the power of grace. 
  1. Come those who worry 
    ‘Bout houses and money, 
    And all those who don’t have 
    A care in the world; 
    From every station 
    And orientation, 
    The helpless, the hopeless, 
    The young and the old. 
  1. Come all believers 
    And dreamers and schemers, 
    And come all you restless 
    Just searching for home; 
    Movers and shakers 
    And givers and takers, 
    The happy, the sad 
    And the lost and alone. 
  1. Come self-sufficient 
    With wearied ambition, 
    And come those who feel 
    At the end of the road. 
    Fiery debaters 
    And religion haters, 
    Accusers, abusers, 
    The hurt and ignored. 

Stuart Townend, Mark Edwards & Phil Baggaley Copyright © 2011 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, songs@integritymusic.com)  

Prayers of Intercession 

Lord, we pray for your peace for those who are burdened with stress and anxiety. 
Come into our turmoil, and may your presence give strength and calmness. 
May your peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 
Lord, we pray for your peace 
for those who suffer from the wounds of war, violence and hatred. 
May we know healing, and be inspired by the hope of your kingdom. 
May your peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 
Lord, we pray for your peace 
for all who bear ancient grudges or bitter hatreds, held and nurtured over generations. 
Wash away the memory of hurt and neglect, that we may know unity and wholeness. 
May your peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 
Send your peace, Lord, that we may think, act and speak harmoniously. 
Take away our selfishness, so that we can share the joys, and feel the sorrows, 
of our neighbours. 
May your peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

The Lord’s Prayer 

We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us: 

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. 

Hymn: StF415 “The Church of Christ” 

  1. The Church of Christ in every age 
    beset by change but Spirit-led, 
    must claim and test its heritage 
    and keep on rising from the dead. 
  1. Across the world, across the street, 
    the victims of injustice cry 
    for shelter and for bread to eat, 
    and never live until they die. 
  1. Then let the servant Christ arise, 
    a caring Church that longs to be 
    a partner in Christ’s sacrifice, 
    and clothed in Christ’s humanity. 
  1. For he alone, whose blood was shed. 
    can cure the fever in our blood, 
    and teach us how to share our bread 
    and feed the starving multitude. 
  1. We have no mission but to serve 
    in full obedience to our Lord: 
    to care for all without reserve, 
    and spread his liberating word. 
    Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000) 


The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you 

and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)