READING: Exodus 19:2-8a; Matthew 9:35 - 10:8
SERMON : "A Compassionate Love"
Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
for the upcoming Sunday. Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.
Sources: The Children's Story for this Sunday is based on one by
Charles Kirkpatrick, www.sermon4kids.com ( 2005), "What Is Love?"
and is reproduced with permission. The Prayer of Approach is based
on one by John Maynard as found in "Prayers and Litanies for
Ordinary 11A, June 2002" as sent to the PRCL List in June 2002. The
Eucharistic Prayer is loosely based on Nathan Nettleton's,
"Eucharistic Preface For Ordinary 11, Year A, 2002" as found at
www.laughingbird.org The Words of Institution are partially drawn
from Eucharistic Prayer IV in the 2002 Roman Catholic Missal.
GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE (* = please stand)
* WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP (Based on Psalm 100 and Romans 5:7-8)
L The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P And also with you.
L Hear the good news of our faith.
At the right time, when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.
P Shout to God, all the earth.
Worship with gladness and joy.
L Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
but God demonstrates love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
P Come all you people,
come to God's gates with thanksgiving
and to God's courts with praise.
L Praise and bless God's name
- rejoice before the Lord with song.
P Say to God, "truly you are good!
You are always gracious!
Your faithfulness lasts forever".
* PRAYER OF APPROACH
Living God, we praise Your name today. We thank you for your truth which
exceeds the grasp of our minds, but changes our lives. We thank you for
your son - Christ Jesus our Lord - whose love reaches out to us and calls
us into a new and a deeper relationship with you -- and we thank you for
the gift of the Holy Spirit and for all the Spirit brings to those who call
upon you in Christ's name. Bless our time together and draw us closer to
you and to one another - so that the world may see your glory and with us
render you praise and honour and thanksgiving - now and forevermore. Amen
* HYMN: "Love Divine, All Love Excelling" - 333
CHILDREN'S TIME: TITLE: What Is Love?
Theme: God showed us what true love is. Proper 6 (11)
Object: A large heart. It could be made from poster board.
Source: Based on a story by Charles Kirkpatrick, "sermon4kids.com" (
2005), "What is Love?" (Ordinary 11a).
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a
good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God
demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still
sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8 (NIV)
I don't know about you, but when I see a heart, the first thing I think of
is love. We think and talk a lot about love, don't we? We often say
things such as, "I love ice cream" or "I love to play baseball." We also
say to our parents or special friends, "I love you."
A group of professionals asked some children from age four to eight, "What
does love mean?" Here are some of the answers the children gave.
"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and
they go out and smell each other." -Kari, age 5
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries
without making them give you any of theirs." -Chrissy, age 6
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it every
day." -Noelle, age 7
"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken." -Elaine, age 5
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all
day." -Mary Ann, age 4
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before
giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7
If I were to ask you to tell me what love is, what would your answer be?
(Give time for responses from the children if time permits.) I think if we
really want to know what love is, the best place to find the answer is in
the Bible. God not only told us what love is, he showed us.
The Bible says, "God showed how much he loved us by sending Jesus to die
for us, even though we were sinful." Wow! That's real love! God loved us
so much that He sent His Son to die for us even though we did not deserve
You know that list of answers that children gave to the question, "What is
love?" Well, here is one more.
"God could have said magic words to make the nails fall off the cross, but
He didn't. That's love." I think that really says it all, don't you?
Dear Father, we thank you for loving us even when we did not deserve it.
Help us to love others in the same way. Amen.
PRAYER AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
Dear Father, we thank you for loving us even when we did not deserve
it. Help us to love others in the same way. Amen.
And in the word's Jesus taught us, let us pray by singing...
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
SONG - "The Joyful Dance of Leaving" by Pam Filfil
A Song by Pam Filfil about leaving behind the slavery of Eygpt and
being led by God into the promised land - where, as we will hear
later in scripture reading - they are called to be a holy nation - a
nation of priests - a blessing to the world.
SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS: ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SPECIAL MATTERS
- Welcome and Announcements
- Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Special Matters
- Sharing Joys and Concerns
TIME OF SILENCE & AN INTROIT FOR THE WORD (verse 2 - VU 371)
Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear
and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God they will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!
A READING FROM EXODUS 19:2-8a
(NIV) After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of
Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the
mountain. Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him
from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the
house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 'You
yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on
eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully
and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my
treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be
for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words
you are to speak to the Israelites."
So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set
before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The
people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has
said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.
L This is the Word of the Lord
P Thanks be to God.
* HYMN: "Open Your Ears, O Faithful People" - VU 272
(Singing chorus twice after each verse - and faster)
A READING FROM MATTHEW 9:35-10:8
(NIV) Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in
their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing
every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had
compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like
sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The
harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the
harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."
He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to
drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is
called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his
brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax
collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot
and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not
go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go
rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message:
'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have
received, freely give."
L This is the Gospel of our Risen Lord
P Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
SERMON: "A Compassionate Love"
O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds
and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in
the thoughts that we form. Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen.
Charles Wesley's hymn, "Love Divine, All Love Excelling" with which we
began this service of worship is a wonderful hymn of praise - and a
The praise - Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art.
And the prayer - Visit us with thy salvation
Enter every trembling heart.
The gospel begins today with these words about Jesus.
As you just heard - but I want you to hear again:
Jesus went though all the towns and villages, teaching in their
synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every
disease and sickness.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were
harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said
to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his
I think most of us are particularly aware of the importance of compassion
- of the importance of compassion and of the great need that our world
has for it - a world in which so many struggle to get along without
anyone to direct them,
- in which so many are left without a strong and caring presence in
- in which so many are like sheep without a shepherd -
wandering, lost, often alone, often embittered,
or, as Jesus himself puts it when he sees the crowds coming out to him for
healing and hope, so many are harassed and helpless.
God wants us to live in family -
- for our young to be nurtured and guided and protected and taught and
loved richly and well,
- and for our old to be respected and cared for and embraced
- and for those in between to be strengthened and given joy and
strength and help as they fulfil the purposes in life for which God has
breathed life into them.
God wants for us to be family together in our homes, living godly and
righteous lives - lives of peace and joy and sharing;
and God wants for us to be family together in his church - among his people
- to be a family, a people, a nation, that live according to his
covenant, and who - because of that covenant keeping - and because of
God's promises to us become a people who truly are different,
a people who truly are dedicated to God's purposes and who not only have
the ability to connect, but actually do connect, one another - and the
whole world - to God, our heavenly Father.
But some of our homes are shattered. Some of our children are left without
a father - or a mother - or both - who can model for them what the love of
God is all about.
Some children in this world need so much that is not being given to them
and you here today - I daresay each one of you - know that; and weep on
account of it; and wonder what to do about it.
That weeping and wondering - that impulse of love - is the same impulse
that moves the heart of God, and the heart of Jesus, as they look upon
us and our world.
So many people are broken and in need of healing.
So many need to hear and see how close the Kingdom of Heaven is to them,
so many need the things that contaminate their lives to be cleansed
so many need the demons that afflict their lives to be driven out
so many need to be raised to new life -and to have their dead
- those they care for and those that they wish that they could care for -
restored to them.
God's purpose for his people has ever been
- as we heard from the Old Testament Reading this morning,
to make us into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,
to make us ones who model - who set the example of what God is like
and who, by our living, by our obedience to the word of God, help to
connect the whole world to God - to bridge the gap that exists between
what is - and what should be - to help bring wholeness to the world.
In this world that God has made that is what Fathers and Mothers are
supposed to be about. They are supposed to be ones who turn to God and by
keeping the word of God in their hearts and in their actions - provide what
their children - and what our world needs.
And many of us have had such godly parents - we have had such Fathers
Godly men who not only teach the way of the Lord to their children,
but who live it out as well - with joy and with wisdom - with humility and
with strength and so raise up after them a generation whose delight is in
the Lord, and whose ways are God's ways.
Praise God for them!
But - many others in our world have not had such fathers or mothers
- and we need them, our world needs them
if we are to be whole - and our world with us.
We who are gathered here today in Christ's name
are called to help answer that need.
"The harvest is plentiful" says Jesus
as he looks upon the lost ones all around him,
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out
workers into his harvest field"
And then he sends out his followers - and gives them the power they need to
do the work that needs doing - the power and authority that they need to
help bring salvation.
Each of us here today is called by God to be a healer
- first within our own family - among our sons and daughters - our
wives and husbands - our cousins and nephews and nieces - and, of
course, among our brothers and sisters - our fellow believers
And as we continue to tend to those in our midst who are lost and who are
broken, as we continue to encourage and teach those God has entrusted to
us, we are called to remember those who are not yet part of our family,
and to go and make disciples of all nations
baptising in the name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Spirit
and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded us.
We can do that - we can heal the broken and drive forth the demons that
afflict our families and our world, we can be as our Father in heaven is -
by allowing our Father in Heaven to guide us and direct us.
Pray my brothers and sisters for all parents today -
- Pray with thanksgiving for those who have lived and are living by
God's word and who have raised up children to God in a godly way.
- And pray with tears and with hope and with desire - and with love for
those who are lost and who need the healing of God in their lives if
they are to be all God has made them to be.
Pray for workers who will bring the compassionate love of God - the
compassionate love of our Saviour Jesus - to the world about us.
And Pray that God will empower you - through your devotion to his living
to be fathers to the fatherless, shepherds to those who have no one to
lead them to the still waters and to places that will restore their
souls, and brothers and sisters to those whose who have no earthy
family to love and care for them and to encourage them and guide them
to the one whose family is not only eternal - but eternally blessed.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (Rx - Singing #400)
Lord, listen to your children praying.
Lord, send your Spirit in this place;
Lord, listen to your children praying,
send us love, send us power, send us grace!
We come to you, O Lord, with thanksgiving in our hearts, for we know that
you hear and answer us when we call upon you for help. You hear because you
are not a distant God, but someone who journeys with us in the person of
Jesus Christ, you answer because you are compassionate and kind and want
all people to know your love and to live in the way that you created us to
live . May that be so for us, dear Lord - may we ones who keep covenant
with you and allow you to be our God - our Father - our daily strength and
source of wisdom - our hope and our joy. O compassionate and caring God -
be our shepherd and help us to be the people of your flock.... Lord, hear
our prayer.... and in your love answer.
Gracious God, Father of the Fatherless, and Shepherd to all who turn to you
- we pray that you would bless all parents this day - those who passed
through this life already - and those who are still with us this day. Let
them hear from heaven and know here on earth - our gratitude towards them
for the good that they shared and our eager desire that they may grow
closer - ever closer to thee.... Lord hear our prayer...
Compassionate Lord, we pray for all the children of the world today - those
young and those old - who have lost their way. Touch those who have been
orphaned by divorce or indifference or death - that may know where to turn
for the love they need and the guidance they require day by day. Feed the
hungry and heal the sick - by your Spirit and by all who answer the
Spirit's call to go forth and do your will.... Lord, hear our prayer...
We pray today, O Lord, for those you have placed upon our hearts - those
you have called us to care for in prayer and in action - those whom we know
and those whom we do not... We ask for those named before you this past
week in our prayer container.... (Bidding Prayer).... Lord, hear our
We pray too, O Lord for those concerns of the past - and those concerns of
today - that have entered, and are even now entering, into our hearts. We
both name them aloud before you so all may say amen - and we also name them
in the silence of our hearts... (Bidding Prayer).... Lord, hear our
Thank you Lord, thank you, for giving us the tears of love and care - for
seeking us out when we were lost - and for being to us all that we need and
more than we can ever dream of needing. May the love you have shared so
freely with us be freely given by us and so bring to our world healing, and
to you, our God, everlasting praise and glory. We ask in the name of
* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS: As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Freely, O God we have received from you. Now freely we give. We
pray you bless our offering and all the efforts of our hearts and
hands and all the intentions of our minds and our wills - so that
your work may be done and your name be glorified - both in our lives
and in the world about us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Amen
* SHARING THE PEACE: We greet those around us with a sign of peace
(handshakes or hugs) and words like "The peace of the Lord be with you".
This ancient tradition is an appropriate response to the peace that God
gives to those who hear and do his word.
* COMMUNION HYMN: "Let Us Break Bread Together" - 480
L: The peace of the Lord be with you.
P And also with you.
L Lift up your hearts.
P We lift them up to the Lord.
L Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P It is right to give God thanks and praise.
- EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God, for your love
has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.
Nothing is too wonderful for you. With a word you brought all creation to
birth and by your word you sustain all things. Your purpose is good - your
intention is to bring life and that abundantly - to the whole world.
You revealed yourself to our forebears, Abraham and Sarah, sharing round
the table with them and promising them the fruit of their withered dreams.
You raised up from them a people - calling to them from the Mountain of
your Presence and promising to make them a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation. a blessing to all the nations.
Though they fell away from you and did not keep the covenant you made with
them you continued to be faithful to them - promising to raise up a
Saviour, a Shepherd King in the line of David.
The fulfilment of all your promises came in your Son, Jesus,
who revealed your compassion for all people,
proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom
and healing the sick and broken of all that afflicted them.
In the fullness of love he gave his life for us,
while we were yet lost in our sin,
but you raised him from the dead
and now through our faith in him, you justify us
and welcomed us to the table of your grace.
L Therefore with all the saints and the company of heaven we praise you,
P Holy, holy, holy, Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory,
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,
Hosanna in the highest.
- THE WORDS OF INSTITUTION
Blessed indeed, O Father, is the one who came in your name. His love for
you and for all those you gave to him knew no limits. When the time came
for him to be glorified by you, his heavenly Father, he showed the depth of
his love. While he was at supper with his disciples, he took bread,
blessed it (as even now we bless this bread O Lord), then broke it and gave
it to them, saying: "Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body
which will be given up for you."
In the same way he took the cup, gave you thanks, and giving it to his
disciples, said: "Take this all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup
of my blood, the blood of a new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed
for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of
THE MYSTERY OF FAITH
L Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
P Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
- THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Father of all - send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these offerings.
Let them become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and
grant that receiving the same, we may grow and obtain maturity of faith.
Make us ever more like the one we remember here today as we celebrate the
great mystery which he left us as an everlasting covenant. Amen
THE DISTRIBUTION: Please come up the aisle in a double line to receive
the elements from one of the two stations - taking the bread and
dipping it in the cup - consuming it - and then returning to your seats
by the side aisles.
This the table of the Lord for the people of the Lord.
Come and be healed.
L Heavenly Father, we thank you for your compassionate love and for how
you have called us from the darkness of bondage into the light and
peace of your presence.
P Lord, Jesus, we praise you for feeding us with the bread of life and
the wine of eternal joy.
L Holy Spirit - strengthen us by what we have received here today to obey
and serve you.
P Grant that we may be faithful to you as you are faithful to us - and so
bring your light to the world and everlasting praise and glory to your
* DEPARTING HYMN: "Faith of Our Fathers" - VU 580
* COMMISSIONING (Unison): In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth
into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace and love and care for another in the name of Christ Jesus
- and may the love of God our Father bless you and keep you,
- may the love of God the Son - our brother and our Lord - surround and
- and may the love of God the Spirit - guide you and strengthen you
on your journey;
day by day - both now and forevermore. Amen
* CHORAL BLESSING: "Go Now In Peace" - VU 964
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2005
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.