Worship for Sunday 25th September, by Deacon Pru Cahill

Jesus tells a parable about an unnamed rich man and a poor man called Lazarus. In this life, one has all the comforts while the other has nothing; but in the afterlife, their fates are reversed. Jesus challenges his hearers not to neglect the demands of justice in this life.

 Lazarus and Dives, Codex Aureus of Echternach 11th century

Prayer of Approach

Lord, we come before you –
in penitence, as we remember those we have left at the gates of our lives and neglected;
in joy, as we celebrate your love
that draws us into your kingdom;
in thanksgiving, as we name in our hearts
those who first brought us to faith;
and in humility, as we acknowledge Jesus our Lord, who bridged heaven and earth.
As your people, Lord, we come before you
and praise your holy name. Amen.

 StF 113 O Worship the King (v 1,2,4,6)

O worship the King, all-glorious above;
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendour, and girded with praise.

O tell of his might, O sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space;
his chariots of wrath the deep thunder-clouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

Your bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air; it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

O measureless Might, ineffable Love,
while angels delight to hymn thee above,
your ransomed creation, though feeble our praise.
in true adoration our voices we raise.                 

Robert Grant (1779 – 1838)

Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

Our Father
you are our father and mother,
in heaven,
though invisible, your love embraces all.
hallowed be your name,
May your name be known throughout the nations,
your kingdom come,
bringing justice, joy and peace.
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Unite our wills in your will,
that we may see your face in the face of our brothers and sisters,
Give us today our daily bread.
The bread of justice and compassion that we may be content with the things that we need.
Forgive us our sins
our arrogance our greed, our hardness of heart.
as we forgive those who sin against us.
that we may be bearers of your forgiveness.
Lead us not into temptation
to condemn and to judge and to destroy.
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever.
May your kingdom be in us and around us.

StF 362  Meekness and Majesty

Meekness and majesty
Manhood and deity
In perfect harmony
The Man who is God

Lord of eternity
Dwells in humanity
Kneels in humility
And washes our feet

Oh what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God

Father’s pure radiance
Perfect in innocence
Yet loves obedience
To death on a cross

Suffering to give us life
Conquering through sacrifice
And as they crucified, prays “Father forgive”

Oh what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God

Wisdom unsearchable
God the invisible
Love indestructible
In frailty appears

Lord of infinity
Stopping so tenderly
Lifts our humanity to the heights of His throne

Oh what a mystery
Meekness and majesty
Bow down and worship
For this is your God
This is your God
This is your God

Graham Kendrick (b 1950)

 Psalm 146

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Luke 16: 19-31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


Jesus is unnamed in this passage but he tells this parable in a series of stories told only by Luke.

I wonder what you understand this parable to be about, what its message is? Read it again and notice what is said or unsaid. What do you think Jesus wanted to convey to his hearers?

Without doubt, this parable is one of stark contrasts:-

  • Of opulence and poverty. A man dressed in extravagant purple lives in luxury every day while at his gate a beggar who longs to eat leftovers is comforted by the dogs who lick his sores.
  • Of heaven and hell. The rich man finds himself in Hades at the end of his life while Lazarus is carried to Abraham’s side.
  • Of comfort and torment. The rich man is in agony from the fierce flames while Lazarus finds comfort.

The rich man does not acknowledge Lazarus at all during his life and even in death does not address him directly, asking Abraham to send Lazarus a) to comfort him and b) to warn his five brothers to repent.

It seems clear that the key message of this story is to urge us to have regard the poor – those who are or feel themselves to be on the outside – and to act upon it.

This passage is also about recognition. Of names (honouring people by using their name), of how our actions are seen by others, and of absorbing and responding now to God’s teaching. And of our need to repent.

For reflection.

What does this story tell us about love?

What in this parable is distinctly Christian?

StF 422 Father We Have Sinned

Read as a private prayer

Father, we have sinned
In word, and deed, and thought,
Through ignorance, through weakness
Through deliberate fault.
We’ve sinned against our neighbours,
And against You, Lord.
Yet we are truly sorry,
And we turn to You once more.

Father of the nations,
You who bless the poor,
We’re servants of the endless want
And drive for more.
We’ve made our greed a virtue
While the children starve,
Come, change our joy to sorrow,
‘Till our lives reflect Your heart.

Stuart Townend (b1963) and Keith Getty (b 1974)


Let us pray to God who loves the poor with an eternity of compassion,
who has demonstrated that compassion in his Son, Jesus Christ,
and who reaches out to the poor in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray for the church, here and throughout the world, that she may be filled with the compassion of Christ,
and may learn to live in right relationship with others who need, not only the gospel,
but the very necessities of food, water, shelter and health.
God of infinite compassion,
hear our prayer.

Let us pray for a world
in which the many sit and suffer at the gate of the few,
that justice may prevail, that compassion may rule,
and that the wealth of the few
may be used more effectively to alleviate the poverty of the many.
God of infinite compassion,
hear our prayer.

We pray for our local communities,
and all who suffer unnoticed by the many.
May God grant us eyes to see the needs of our neighbours,
and hearts to reach out to them in the name of Christ.
God of infinite compassion,
hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the neglected, the abused,
the destitute and the penniless,
especially those known to us personally.
May their needs be met, their suffering alleviated,
and their place in the community established.
God of infinite compassion,
hear our prayer.

We give thanks for those who have died,
for all that was good in their lives.
As they now enjoy your nearer presence,
Comfort those who grieve their passing,
and grant that through their sorrow,
they may be encouraged to bring joy to others.
God of infinite compassion,
hear our prayer.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
our strong, compassionate redeemer.
Amen .

StF 696 For the Healing of the Nations

For the healing of the nations,

       Lord, we pray with one accord;

for a just and equal sharing

       of the things that earth affords.

To a life of love in action

       help us rise and pledge our word.


Lead your people into freedom,

       from despair your world release,

that, redeemed from war and hatred,

       all may come and go in peace.

Show us how, through care and goodness,

       fear will die and hope increase.


All that kills abundant living,

       let it from the earth be banned:

pride of status, race or schooling,

       dogmas that obscure your plan.

In our common quest for justice

       may we hallow life’s brief span.


You, Creator-God, have written

       your great name on humankind;

for our growing in your likeness,

       bring the life of Christ to mind;

that by our response and service

       earth its destiny may find.

Fred Kaan (1929-2009)


Lord, we know that your kingdom exists
wherever injustice is challenged,
wherever the oppressed are set free,
wherever the hungry are fed,
wherever the helpless helped
and foreigners welcomed.

Help us to work for this,
wherever we are this week.

(Prayers adapted from rootsontheweb.com)