Armadale UCA

18th October 2020

` A glimpse of God`

Pentecost 20

Rev Fiona Winn

Welcome and Grace

Scripture sentence

`Be exalted O Lord above the heavens,
let Your glory be over all the earth`
Ps. 57:11

TIS 132 `Holy, holy, holy`
Kings College Choir:
Audrey Assad:

                1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
                  Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
                  Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
                  God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
                2. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
                  Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
                  Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
                  Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.
                3. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
                  Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
                  Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
                  Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
                4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
                  All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
                  Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
                  God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Reginald Heber (1783-1826)

God of glory, glorious God,
beyond all we can think or imagine,
yet revealed and made known to us in Jesus Christ,
flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone, Brother, Saviour, Friend,
we come to worship You
aware that we cannot take in all that You are;
aware we cannot comprehend You.
You are always more…You are all ways more.
Your Word teaches us, expands us and our understanding.
Teach us Your ways O Lord.
Your Spirit is alive and at work in us, through us,
in and through the Church.
Teach us Your ways O Lord.
In these days we are learning about ourselves and about You
in confronting and challenging ways.
This is not easy – and yet we return again and again
because with You is light and hope and truth, not just for us,
but for all people and for all creation.
In all our ways help us to acknowledge You.
`Exalt the Lord our God! Exalt the Lord our God!
And worship at His footstool, worship at His footstool.
Holy is He! Holy is he!`
You are holy. We are not holy.
Forgive our passivity when it comes to things of the faith,
when it comes to engaging with You, with Your Word, with the Spirit.
Embolden us. Make us brave and curious and engaged.
Lord have mercy…
Forgive our confusion and our poor decision making
about what really matters.
Clear our hearts and minds. Purify our thoughts.
Christ have mercy…
Forgive our compromise and collusion with the world and its charms.
Help us prioritise and work for
the coming of Your Kingdom which will have no end.
Lord have mercy…
`If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.`
Ps. 130: 3, 4
We hear Christ`s words of grace `Your sins are forgiven`
Thanks be to God. Amen


Exodus 33: 12-23 - Moses’ Intercession

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favour in my sight.’ 13 Now if I have found favour in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favour in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’;[a] and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” 21 And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Song – two modern biblical versions of Ps. 99
Jason Silver:
Sons of Korah:

Psalm 99 - Praise to God for His Holiness

The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble!
    He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name.
    Holy is he!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
    you have established equity;
you have executed justice
    and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God;
    worship at his footstool.
    Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel also was among those who called on his name.
    They cried to the Lord, and he answered them.
He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
    they kept his decrees,
    and the statutes that he gave them.

Lord our God, you answered them;
    you were a forgiving God to them,
    but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Extol the Lord our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for the Lord our God is holy.

Matthew 22: 15-22 - The Question about Paying Taxes

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.

Reflection and Q and A

A glimpse of God
`…how you turned from idols, to serve a living and true God…`
1 Thessalonians 1: 9

As Christians, the life of faith is a life committed to, and turned towards, learning more about who God is in and for this world, our world, in these days.
This we do through coming to know and understand more about God
in the light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The indwelling Spirit of Christ, Whom we receive in baptism, helps us to live better as we learn more, as we work, worship, and serve together in the world.
We don`t make up the rules for this way of life. We have been given the rules. Our task is to live out these rules the best way we can, faithfully, curiously, asking questions and wondering.
Always wondering.
What questions do you have for God?
What are you curious about in terms of faith in Christ?
C. Kavin Rowe, George Washington Ivey Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity College writing about his book `One True Life: the Stoics and Early Christians as Rival Traditions` says: …`that whoever the Messiah is, scripture is the matrix that yields his identity`.
Scripture, the Bible, the Old and New Testaments are exactly that – testaments, witnesses to the nature and character of God.
Writing in another article (`The formation of scriptural imagination`) Rowe says `Learning to read the Bible well and developing a scriptural way of living requires slow reading, sustained attention and community…`
This is what we do each week as we gather around the Word to reflect and pray together. And it is not the preserve only of when we are gathered as a group. It is good for us, nourishing for us, to learn to read scripture well for and by ourselves.
As we engage with scripture, as we read deeply, and as we wonder individually and together, we ought not to be surprised that we hear things we hadn`t heard before; things that might disturb or unsettle us; things that will challenge and confront our ideas and attitudes.
The scriptures for today – Exodus and Matthew – give us glimpses into God and how God deals with human desires and concerns.
Moses wants to see God, wants to see God`s glory. This, God permits – with conditions, kindly conditions. God reveals God`s self to Moses in a way that would not destroy Moses. But God does reveal Himself. This story describes something of the quality and depth of the relationship between God and Moses.
Extraordinarily daring? Or simply real and true?
How would you describe your relationship with God?
Real? True? Daring?
Have you ever had a glimpse of God? How did it affect you?
Our engagement with the Word and our experiences of God will be reflected in how we live and in our response to life and all it throws us. How to live `Christianly`? We will need to think `Christianly`.
I like this from C. Kavin Rowe: `In order to think Christianly, we need to be interested in everything, thinking across sectors and not just in our own little world`.
There is nothing Christians cannot discuss or consider. In fact, we are to be engaged with all manner of things as Christians. How can we not be?
In the Gospel story Jesus is put to the test by wily political operatives, the Herodians. As their name suggests, pro-Herod, (`Herod for King`) they try to trip Jesus up by embroiling Him in a question around taxes and where one`s primary allegiance ought to lie. This question doesn`t appear to disconcert or trouble Jesus. He never appears embarrassed to discuss money – or politics.
When it comes to taxes and things political for Jesus, it`s clear: there`s no competition: it`s obvious what belongs where and with whom.
What belongs to Caesar is Caesar`s. What belongs to God is God`s.
Of course, the question to be asked is: `What is not God`s?`
To see something of the glory of God – the merest glimpse – is to be changed. Such an experience affects us and will have consequences on how we live. C. Kavin Rowe again: `…the distinctive way we`re going to be in the world is going to have behavioural consequences. You`re going to be able to see it in society.`
That goes for everything.

Joys and concerns

Prayer and the Lord`s Prayer

(Bill Rush)

Gracious God, source of all that is true, beautiful and good, we thank you for our lives, for every breath, and all our blessings. We thank you for the beauty that surrounds us and for the hope and joy of Spring.

This morning we pray for Christians who are suffering for their faith in Jesus and for all who are unjustly imprisoned. Help us to be truly grateful for our own freedom to worship. Bless all church leaders and their peoples, and this congregation. Help us to get our priorities right, to discern what you have in mind for us, and to act on it.

God of Wisdom, we pray for those who must make great and difficult decisions on behalf of others. Save them and us from the temptations of money and power. We pray for those trapped by materialism and who are fooled by its false promises and glitter.

Loving Parent, we pray for all who hunger for goodness and righteousness, for all who serve you by serving others. Support those on the front line against the virus, those who have been struck down, and those who are grieving.

Be with the sick and disabled, the mentally ill and those who minister to them, the lonely and all who need comfort. We remember those who work for the rehabilitation of others. Bless the staff of Arrow Health, Debtors Anonymous, and the Prison Fellowship, as they seek to heal and restore. Alert us to the needs of others.

Lord bless us and those we love in the coming week and make us whole.

Hear these our prayers for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ who taught us to pray:

Our Father …

TIS 153 `God is love, let heaven adore him`
Songs of Praise congregation:
Episcopal Quartet:

God is love, let heav'n 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 heav'ns above,
He who breathes through all creation,
He is love, eternal love.

God is love and he enfoldeth
all the world in one embrace;
with unfailing grasp he holdeth
every child of every race.
And when human hearts are breaking
under sorrow's iron rod,
all the sorrow, all the aching
wrings with pain the heart of God.

God is love, and though with blindness
sin afflicts the souls of men,
God's eternal loving-kindness
holds and guides them even then.
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 (1874-1939)


May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Spirit,
make you brave and full of good courage
today and in the days to come.