Worship for Sunday 18th October, by Deacon Pru Cahill

Jesus is asked a ‘loaded question’. As we consider the response he makes to the question of authority, we consider what authority we ought to respond to and how we recognise the authority of God in others, as well as ourselves.

Call to Worship

Sing to the Lord, and praise him,
proclaim his glory to all the world,
for the Lord is great and highly to be praised.
Sing to the Lord, sing a new song to the Lord.

StF 55 Immortal, Invisible, God Only

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.


Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

thy justice like mountains high soaring above

thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.


To all life Thou givest, to both great and small;

in all life Thou livest, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

and wither and perish, but nought changeth thee.


Great Father of Glory, pure Father of Light

thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;

all laud we would render, O help us to see:

’tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee.

Walter Chalmers Smith (1824 – 1908)

Prayers of Praise

Most high God, king of kings and Lord of Lords,
to you be all honour and glory.
For you alone are worthy.
There is none beside you.

We come before you this day
in humble adoration and thanksgiving,
for you have revealed to us
the full height, depth and breadth of your goodness
in and through the life, death and resurrection
of your Son Christ Jesus, redeemer of the world.

Most high God, king of kings and Lord of Lords,
to you be all honour and glory.
For you alone are worthy.
There is none beside you.

By the power of your Holy Spirit,
grant to us this day, in all that we do,
the knowledge, the understanding,
the obedience, the perseverance, the courage
and above all else, the agape-love,
to be imitators of him,
for this we believe to be your calling and your will.

Most high God, king of kings and Lord of Lords,
to you be all honour and glory.

For you alone are worthy.
There is none beside you.

We ask our prayer in Christ’s name and for his sake. Amen.


StF 327 Jesus is King

 Jesus is king and I will extol him 

Give Him the glory, and honour His name 

He reigns on high, enthroned in the heavens 

Word of the Father, exalted for us.


We have a hope that is steadfast and certain 

Gone through the curtain and touching the throne 

We have a Priest who is there interceding 

Pouring His grace on our lives day by day. 


We come to Him, our Priest and Apostle 

Clothed in His glory and bearing His name 

Laying our lives with gladness before Him 

Filled with His Spirit we worship the King. 


O Holy One, our hearts do adore You 

Thrilled with Your goodness we give You our praise 

Angels in light with worship surround Him 

Jesus, our Saviour, for ever the same. 

 (Wendy Churchill)

Matthew 22: 15-22

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.


This encounter takes place during the days before the Passover leading to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.

Tensions were already high in Jerusalem and some Pharisees are looking for a way to entrap Jesus via their simple question about taxes.

The question sees the confliction of two different legal systems – the law of the Jews that guided every aspect of Jewish living and Roman law, by which every citizen under occupation must abide.

If Jesus tells the questioners to pay their taxes, he legitimates Roman rule in Jerusalem. This would have been a huge let down for many who believed that the Messiah would liberate the Jews from Roman oppression. (And only a few hours earlier, Jesus had rode into Jerusalem with such expectation on him.) To pay taxes to Rome was to admit one’s subject status to Rome, something which many Jews were unwilling to do. However, if Jesus tells them not to pay their taxes, he risks becoming the unwilling champion of a political revolution against Caesar.

In his reply, Jesus acknowledges that there are two realms of authority – God and government – each of which may legitimately require different things of us. Unfortunately for the Pharisees they didn’t bargain on such a wise answer, but one which leaves Jesus’ hearers to do some work. Us included!

Jesus asks them to produce a coin with Caesar’s head on it and a denarius is found. Many such devout Jews would have been embarrassed to be found with a coin bearing Caesar’s head in their possession but not, it seems, these particular Pharisees!

This last week the Methodist Council has voted (at long last, some would say) to request its advisory body (the Joint Advisory Committee on the Ethics of Investment or JACEI), to recommend disinvestment by the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church (CFB) from all oil and gas companies which are not currently aligned with the Paris Agreement target of a global temperature rise of well below 2 degrees.

I wonder, what (other) ambiguities in our own lives and our life together are conflicting our giving to God and honouring what belongs to him? How might we address this today?


Leading into Prayer

Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God


We pray for all those entrusted with great wealth,
in the responsibilities that money brings,
in the opportunities that it can open,
in the temptations that can destroy.
God of true riches,
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who, in their poverty
or through their pride, have been dishonest;
those who have taken from their workplace,
their communities, or their friends.
God of true riches,
hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves, for the decisions we make
about our money, our way of life,
our friendships, our faith.
God of true riches,
hear our prayer.

We pray for our world,
compromised, divided and yet still beautiful.
God of true riches,
hear our prayer.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom

The power, and the glory

For ever and ever. Amen.


StF 418 We Have a Gospel to Proclaim

Verses 1-4;6

We have a gospel to proclaim

Good news for men in all the earth;

The gospel of a Saviour’s name:

We sing His glory, tell His worth.


Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,

Not in a royal house or hall

But in a stable dark and dim:

The Word made flesh, a light for all.


Tell of His death at Calvary,

Hated by those He came to save;

In lonely suffering on the cross

For all He loved, His life He gave.


Tell of that glorious Easter morn:

Empty the tomb, for He was free.

He broke the power of death and hell

That we might share His victory.


Now we rejoice to name Him King:

Jesus is Lord of all the earth.

This gospel message we proclaim:

We sing His glory, tell His worth.

Edward Joseph Burns (b 1938)



Go in peace, to serve the holy God in love and justice, through sacrifice, in praise:
God of glory, come to us.
God of glory, stay with us.
God of glory, travel with us.
God of glory, lead us home. Amen

 (all prayers adapted from rootsontheweb.com)