Worship for Sunday 29th October 2023, by Rev. Joy Rulton

Call to worship: 

We come to worship the God of love. 
We come to worship Jesus, who shows us how to love. 
We come to worship the Holy Spirit, 
who inspires and awakens love in our hearts. 
Be with us now, O God, 
as we come to worship! 




Jesus is Lord! Creation’s voice proclaims it 

for by His power, each tree and flower 

was planned and made 

Jesus is Lord! The universe declares it 

Sun, moon and stars in heaven cry,”Jesus is Lord!” 

Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! 

Praise Him with hallelujahs 

For Jesus is Lord! 

Jesus is Lord! Yet from His throne eternal 

In flesh He came to die in pain on Calv’ry’s tree 

Jesus is Lord! From Him all life is proceeding 

Yet gave His life a ransom thus setting us free 

Jesus is Lord! O’er sin the mighty conqueror 

from death He rose and all His foes shall own His name 

Jesus is Lord! God sent His Holy Spirit 

to show by works of power that Jesus is Lord 

Prayer of praise: 

God of love, 

you are love. 

Love is your being, 

love is your nature, 

love is your purpose. 
You are the source of all love 

and we praise you, we worship you, we adore you. 
We offer afresh to you all the love of our heart, all of our soul and all of our strength. 

We are amazed at the love you have for us and thank you from the depths of our being  

for the freedom it gives us to enjoy being the people you have made us to be. 

As we rejoice in your love for us help us to demonstrate the integrity of our love by loving our neighbours as ourselves. 

God of love, 

we pray that the worship and service we offer may truly be filled with your love. 
For Jesus’ sake we pray. 

and confession: 

Forgive us, eternal God, 
when we choose not to love and serve: 
those who are different from us, 
those who have come from different places, 
those who believe in different things, 
those who mix in different circles. 

Forgive us when we choose not to reach out to: 
those we don’t understand, those we don’t like, 
those we don’t think deserve our help, 
those we are estranged from. 

Forgive us when we justify our negativity towards: 
those who have disappointed us, 
those who have challenged us, 
those who have done better than us, 
those who have moved on from us. 

Gracious God, 

as you call us to forgive others, 

so you forgive us – time after time. 

As you compel us to love others, 

so you love us – day after day. 

As you invite us to reach out to our neighbours, so you reach out to us – again and again. I 

May your love compel us to change. 




God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name, 
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name, 
and in Jesus’ name I come to you 
to share his love as he told me to. 
He said: 
‘Freely, freely you have received; 
freely, freely give. 
Go in my name and because you believe, 
others will know that I live.’ 

All power is given in Jesus’ name, 
in earth and heaven in Jesus’ name, 
and in Jesus’ name I come to you 
to share his power as he told me to. 

C: 1972 Bud John Songs/Sparrow/EMI Christian Music Publishing. Admin: Kevin Mayhew Ltd. 


Readings: NRSV 

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 

19 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 

2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 

15 You shall not render an unjust judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbour. 16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbour: I am the Lord. 

17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbour, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord. 

Matthew 22:34-46 

34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37 He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ 

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42 ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ 43 He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, 

44 “The Lord said to my Lord, 
‘Sit at my right hand, 
    until I put your enemies under your feet’”? 

45 If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ 46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions. 


God is Love, let heaven adore him; 

God is Love, let earth rejoice; 

let creation sing before him, 

and exalt him with one voice. 

He who laid the earth’s foundation, 

He who spread the heavens above, 

He who breathes through all creation, 

He is Love, eternal Love. 


God is Love and he enfolding 

all the world in one embrace; 

with unfailing grasp is holding 

every child of every race. 

And when human hearts are breaking 

under sorrow’s iron rod, 

then they find that selfsame aching 

deep within the heart of God. 


God is Love, and though with blindness 

sin afflicts each human soul, 

God’s eternal loving-kindness 

holds and guides and keeps them whole. 

Sin and death and hell shall never 

o’er us final triumph gain; 

God is Love, so Love for ever 

o’er the universe must reign. 

 Timothy Rees Words: © Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. 



You’re riding an electric train at 120mph moving north with the wind blowing east at 15 mph. Which way does the smoke blow? 

Of course, there is no smoke. Trick questions can be fun, but not when they’re asked with malicious intent. 

The Pharisees are back! Yet again they want to trick Jesus into saying something they can use to justify arresting him. Jesus answers their question straight from scripture. They can’t argue with that. They all know the Shema. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” It’s an important prayer taught to children and recited every morning and night. 

To love God with all our heart means to make choices that show his kingdom is my number one priority. With our ‘soul’ means our whole selves, all that we have and are. ‘Mind’ tells us that we will have to think carefully about what this faithful life will look like. We have to ask hard questions and think through what it means for us. And the word ‘strength’ shows that this will not be easy; it will need effort. 

But then Jesus puts it with the words from Leviticus, “you shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 

Not so easy, especially if our neighbour is someone we don’t like, someone who is very different from us, has different values. But then perhaps the kind of love God has in mind is tough, caring more about someone else’s rather than our own The love we are to have for him and for other people requires sacrifice, courage, passion and real commitment – no conditions. It demands everything of us, all that we have, all that we are, all that we do. 

Can we truly say that we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength? 

Legend has it that a wealthy merchant travelling round the Mediterranean looking for the apostle Paul met Timothy, who arranged a visit. At the time, Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity challenged his visitor. They talked for hours before the merchant left with Paul’s blessing. Outside the prison, the merchant inquired, “What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before.”  

Did you not guess?” replied Timothy. “Paul is in love.” The merchant looked confused. “In love?” ”Yes,” the Timothy answered, “Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.” The merchant looked even more puzzled. “Is that all?” Timothy replied, “Sir, that is everything.” 



The love of God comes close 
Where stands an open door 
To let the stranger in, 
To mingle rich and poor: 
The love of God is here to stay 
Embracing those who walk his way. 

The peace of God comes close 
To those caught in the storm, 
Forgoing lives of ease 
To ease the lives forlorn: 
The peace of God is here to stay 
Embracing those who walk his way. 

The joy of God comes close 
Where faith encounters fears, 
Where heights and depths of life 
Are found through smiles and tears: 
The joy of God is here to stay 
Embracing those who walk his way. 

The grace of God comes close 
To those whose grace is spent, 
When hearts are tired or sore 
And hope is bruised or bent: 
The grace of God is here to stay 
Embracing those who walk his way. 

The Son of God comes close 
Where people praise his name, 
Where bread and wine are blest 
And shared, as when he came: 
The Son of God is here to stay 
Embracing those who walk his way. 

Words: John L Bell & Graham Maule (c) 1988, 1997 WGRG, Iona Community 

Prayers of intercession: 

We pray for peace and reconciliation in the world: 
peace between nations; 
peace within families; 
peace where there is oppression; 
peace where there is injustice. 
May your kingdom come, 
may we love our neighbour as ourselves. 
We pray for those who are victims of discrimination 
because of their ethnicity, disability, nationality, 
appearance, religion, gender identity, 
sexual orientation, or for any other reason. 
We pray that we may learn to accept and respect those who are different from us. 
May your kingdom come, 
may we love our neighbour as ourselves. 
We pray for all who suffer, or have suffered, abuse 
that they may have healing and comfort, 
and be able to love as you love them. 
We bring to you those who commit abuse, 
praying that they may see the pain they cause and repent, 
and experience your love themselves. 
May your kingdom come, 
may we love our neighbour as ourselves. 

We pray for those who live in fear because they do not have enough to be able to feed themselves or their family. 
May we all learn to share the generous bounty of your world. 
May your kingdom come, 
may we love our neighbour as ourselves. 

In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen. 

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. 




O thou who camest from above 
the pure celestial fire to impart, 
kindle a flame of sacred love 
on the mean altar of my heart! 

There let it for thy glory burn 
with inextinguishable blaze, 
and trembling to its source return, 
in humble prayer and fervent praise. 

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire 
to work, and speak, and think for thee; 
still let me guard the holy fire, 
and still stir up thy gift in me —  

Ready for all thy perfect will, 
my acts of faith and love repeat, 
till death thy endless mercies seal, 
and make the sacrifice complete. 

Charles Wesley 


The love of the Lord Jesus 
draw you to himself; 
the power of the Lord Jesus 
strengthen you in his service; 
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts; 

and the blessing of God almighty, 
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 
be among you and remain with you always. Amen. 


Prayers adapted from ROOTSONTHEWEB 

CCL: 5441182