Worship for Sunday 2nd October 2022, by Rev. Caroline Wickens

Invitation to Worship

God has saved us and called us to a holy life—

not because of anything we have done,

but because of God’s own purpose and grace.

This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus

before the beginning of time,

but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour,

who has destroyed death

and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Let us worship God.

Opening Hymn: StF 64 Praise is rising

Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You
We turn to You
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You
We long for You

‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
And in Your presence all our fears are
Washed away, washed away!

Hosanna, Hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises

Hosanna, hosanna,

Come have your way among us;

We welcome you here, Lord Jesus

Hear the sound of hearts returning to You
We turn to You
In Your kingdom broken lives are made new
You make all things new

‘Cause when we see You
We find strength to face the day
And in Your presence all our fears are
Washed away, washed away!

Hosanna, Hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises

Hosanna, hosanna,

Come have your way among us;

We welcome you here, Lord Jesus

Brenton Brown & Paul Baloche, © 2005 ThankYou Music

Prayers of love towards God

Eternal and Loving God,
We are in awe as we worship You today.
Your generosity knows no bounds,
and we are humbled by the breadth, length and depth of Your love for us,
and for all the people of the whole world that You made so creatively.

How wonderful it is that You brought variety, colour, vibrancy and beauty to this earth,
for You are a generous and caring giver
who wants to provide for Your children.
We are blessed with continents, countries and areas that range from the high mountain to the deep ocean,
the small rural village to the bustling city.
All of this has been made perfectly, a loving gift to be experienced and lived to the full.

Creator God,
You have showered upon us all the resources we need for a fulfilling life,
including families and friends who love us,
work and leisure that inspires us,
and a faith that brings meaning and purpose day by day.
We are truly thankful for all You have done, and continue to do for us, day by day.

Loving God,
You know everything about us.
The thoughts we have, the desires we fight against, and the words that are spoken
that cause distress, worry and fear.

Our faults are many, our failings emerge more often than we would like.
Our minds are influenced by those around us.
We even drift away from the path You have set before us.
We believe the publicity that says we should be ashamed of our lack of money, resources and ability, and our minds become burdened with what we have not done or achieved.

We confess the mistakes made, the actions taken, or not taken, and say sorry …
Sorry because we let others gain the upper hand, instead of turning to You.
Sorry that we have not been as faithful as we could have been.

Loving God, forgive us, assure us and empower us as we move forward in faith,
renewed and forgiven,
knowing You are with us, urging, encouraging and leading us on.

From the Church of Scotland’s Weekly Worship

Hymn: StF 431  O, the love of my Lord


O, the love of my Lord is the essence

of all that I love here on earth.

All the beauty I see he has given to me,

 and his giving is gentle as silence.


Every day, every hour, every moment

have been blessed by the strength of his love.

At the turn of each tide he is there at my side,

and his touch is as gentle as silence.


There’ve been times when I’ve turned from his presence,

and I’ve walked other paths, other ways;

But I’ve called on his name in the dark of my shame,

and his mercy was gentle as silence.

Estelle White (b.1925), © McCrimmon Publishing Co.Ltd.

Reading: Luke 17:5 – 10

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you.

‘Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from ploughing or tending sheep in the field, “Come here at once and take your place at the table”? Would you not rather say to him, “Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink”? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, “We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!


What is the smallest thing you can think of? Maybe a speck of dust, floating in a sunbeam; maybe a virus, visible only through a microscope; maybe the protons and electrons that make up atoms. Jesus chooses a mustard seed, said to be the smallest of all seeds. Why does he ask his disciples to think of their faith in terms of something tiny rather than something huge? Perhaps he is seeking to pull them back from a self-important focus on competition, or the over-confidence that comes from seeing themselves as experts in faith.

Who is the least important person you can think of? Maybe the pandemic has taught us that the traditional values of society are mistaken – is a highly-paid city banker really more important than a low-paid hospital cleaner? Jesus chooses a slave-of-all-work, someone working in a household which could only afford one slave, who had to do everything from farming to cooking to waiting at table. Then he points out that Christian disciples are like those slaves, not like the slave-owners. It’s a tough comparison for modern readers, and must have been even more so for its original hearers, some of them perhaps enduring slavery, all of them familiar with what a slave’s life was like. Why does he ask his followers to identify themselves in this way? Perhaps he is reminding them that God’s presence in the world does not depend on their success as ‘faith leaders’. All they are required to do is to obey, like some of the most marginalised people in their society.

‘Increase our faith!’ It’s a prayer we can sympathise with – and yet Jesus’ response suggests that it’s a mistaken request. It doesn’t matter if faith is tiny as a mustard seed, for even faith is just a means to the real end of discipleship, knowing God and being known by God. Where are these apostles focusing their concern? Is it on God, or is it on themselves and their spiritual progress? Are they paying proper attention to the wonder of God’s presence made known to them in Jesus, or are they like babies who are more interested in the wrapping paper than the gift it conceals? Remember that Jesus’ own prayer begins with praise: our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. This is the right focus for the disciples’ longing to be better followers of Jesus – not faith in itself, but the object of faith, God, who becomes God-with-us in Jesus of Nazareth, and so leads us into life.

Hymn: StF 668  Teach me, my God and King

Teach me, my God and King,
in all things thee to see,
and what I do in anything
to do it as for thee.

A man that looks on glass,
on it may stay his eye;
or if he pleaseth, through it pass,
and then the heaven espy.

All may of thee partake;
nothing can be so mean,
which with this tincture, “for thy sake,”
will not grow bright and clean.

A servant with this clause
makes drudgery divine:
who sweeps a room, as for thy laws,
makes that and the action fine.

This is the famous stone
that turneth all to gold;
for that which God doth touch and own
cannot for less be told.

George Herbert, 1593 – 1633

Prayers for others

Let us pray to the God of forgiveness,
for the world in which we live,
for the church in which we serve,
for the homes in which we love,
and for those most in need.

Forgiving God,
we pray before you today for all people still affected by slavery:
for the countries still suffering the legacy of the historic slave trade,
and for the countries and people still enslaved today.
We pray especially for all those trafficked away from home,
stranded in foreign lands, surrounded by foreign languages.

God of the journey,
hear us and guide us.

We lift your Church before you,
and ask that it would never be a cause for stumbling,
but a place of forgiveness,
of wholeness, healing and peace.
Help this church to grow together on that journey into your love.

God of the journey,
hear us and guide us.

We thank you for our families,
whilst acknowledging that those closest to us can sometimes cause the deepest hurt.
We pray for deeper understanding in our homes,
and a willingness to forgive as you forgave us.

God of the journey,
hear us and guide us.

We lift up to you today
all those whose journey is difficult and painful,
all those whose journey is coming to an end.
We ask your especial presence with them,
a close companionship with you
through the rough patches of their journeys.

God of the journey,
hear us and guide us.

From Roots on the Web

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


Hymn: StF 547  Beyond these walls of worship


Beyond these walls of worship

In the stress and joy of life,

Can we offer you our bodies as a living sacrifice?

Will we keep you at the centre

Far beyond the Sunday call?

Will we turn to you, be transformed by you, still declare you God of all?


Beyond these walls of worship,

In the times of work and rest,

Will we display your love for all when our faith’s put to the test?

When the people that surround us

Deny that you are there,

Will we display our faith in you – in life, in praise, in prayer?


Beyond these walls of worship

May your Spirit strengthen us

To make the whole of life our worship as we witness to your love.

From this hour in your presence

Send us out now to proclaim

That we’ll live our life as a sacrifice to the glory of your name.

© Ian Worsfold (b.1974) and Paul Wood (b.1967).