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St Clement Church Community Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday Service



Good morning and welcome to our service.


Authority – a word that can often make us bridle, or even worse!                                                True authority is to be valued because it is to the value of everybody.


With love to you all



Let us pray:


Heavenly Father, we gather in your presence today with open hearts and minds, ready to worship and praise your holy name. We ask that you bless this time of worship so that we may be uplifted and inspired by your presence. Fill us with your love and grace, and help us to honour you in all that we do.



We say together:


 Father, thank you that you have brought each of us safely to this place. We gladly surrender our lives to you in worship and praise.                         As we gather we remember those who are not with us today – for those who are sick, we as for healing, and for those away from us, we ask for your blessing to be on them.

We invite your Holy Spirit to move freely amongst us.    

Come, dwell in each of our hearts.

Equip us, challenge us, comfort us, teach us.

Inspire us as we learn more about your mighty ways.

Father, as we meet now may we behold your majesty and encounter your grace.

We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.



Hymn: 336 Angel voices ever singing


Prayer of Penitence


Seek the Lord while he may be found,

Call upon him while he is near.


Let the wicked abandon their ways

And the unrighteous their thoughts.


Turn back to the Lord, who will have mercy;

To our God who will richly pardon.


Lord God, we have sinned against you; we have done evil in your sight.                  We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us and restore to us the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Let us pray our Collect for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity


Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you: pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself, and so bring us at last to your heavenly city where we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.  



Ezekiel 18. 1 – 4, 25 - end

Philippians 2. 1 - 13


Hymn: 368 Guide me O thou great redeemer


Gospel: Matthew 21. 23 - 32

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)


When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’

Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.               Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’

And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” he will                                                                               say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?”                                                                                                                    But if we say, “Of human origin,” we are afraid of the crowd; for they all regard John as a prophet.’

So, they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’                                                                         And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’


What do you think?

A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.”

He answered, “I will not;” but later he changed his mind and went.

The father went to the second and said the same, and he answered, “I go, sir,” but he did not go.

Which of the two did the will of his father?’

They said, ‘The first.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe it.

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.    Praise to you, O Christ.)



I wonder, have you ever known anyone with authority issues?


Authority is the theme running through today’s Gospel reading.

The chief priests and elders take issue with Jesus’ authority. The two sons challenge their father’s authority.

But, they’re not the only ones with authority issues.


We all have authority issues, but I am not talking about authority issues in the way we usually understand them.

Reading today’s Gospel, the obvious question is whether we submit to the authority of Jesus and the Father. However, that question seems so obvious, that I wonder if perhaps that isn’t the question at the heart of today’s reading. Surely there must be something more going on. I wonder if we are misunderstanding what true authority is.


Authority – how do we usually understand it? We tend to think it is based on credentials and expertise, years of education, successes and accomplishments, status and reputation, or the position held in relationship to another. We assume that authority comes from outside a person and that it is given to them by their circumstances. In this understanding, some have authority and others do not.


“Who do you think you are?”                                                                                   “What gives you the right to tell me what to do?”                                                                   That’s usually our understanding of authority, isn’t it? We don’t like someone else teaching us, correcting us, or telling us what to do.                                We hear that in the challenge of the high priests and elders to Jesus,                       “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”                                                                                                                        We see it in the refusal of the two sons to go to the vineyard.


There is, however, another authority issue going on in today’s Gospel reading. That issue is our failure, and sometimes our refusal, to recognise, claim, and exercise the authority within us; to go to the vineyard. I suspect, and indeed believe, that that’s the authority issue that this Gospel reading is showing us today.


I wonder, do you think that God is your ‘boss?’ I don’t think that’s so. He is not your boss; he is not my boss.

Why not? Well, God is our author. Every day God authorises us to enter and sends us out to his vineyard, to act in this world with his authority, and on his behalf through the gifts that he has bestowed upon each one of us.

True authority comes from within. It is an interior God-given quality not an exterior circumstance. That’s what the chief priests and elders failed to understand. I think that’s why Jesus was so aggravated with the religious leaders. They chose to exchange their God-given authority for human power. Sometimes, we do too. 

                                                                                                                                         That’s what’s happening in much of our world today.


In the absence of true authority, there will always be power struggles. Look at the gridlock in our political system. Look at the wars throughout the world. Look at the conflicts in our own relationships. Those are about power, not authority. Our leaders exercise power but very few exercise authority. In the exercise of power, we look to our own interests, but in the exercise of authority, we look to the interests of others.


All authority originates in God, but it is not exclusive to God. God shares his authority with us. That shared authority exists in us and is revealed by us as the many gifts God has imparted on each of our lives. That means that everyone of us has authority. No one has more authority than another, we may just have a different authority. God gives each of us gifts and authority unique to our lives. God is generous, extravagant, with the gifts he gives and the authority he shares. We all have God-given gifts and authority.

So, there is no one without authority. The difference isn’t that some have authority and others don’t. The difference is that some recognise and exercise their authority and others don’t. Regardless, God knows and sees the authority he has given us and waits for us to see and know it too. And when we do, we change our mind, and go to the vineyard.


So, what authority has God given you? What gifts, what divine attributes has God bestowed upon you? Are you living that authority and sharing those gifts? Have you gone to the vineyard or are you simply mouthing the answers you think God wants to hear? That’s a tough question, isn’t it? But it’s one we all need to ask ourselves.

We all have authority from God and should use that authority through the many gifts he has given each one of us, and go to the vineyard.




Affirmation of our faith


Let us declare our faith in God.


We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light true God from true God,

Begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.


Believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen


Hymn: 431 O thou who camest from above


Our Intercessions


Dear Lord and Father, as we bow our heads in the quiet of our little church of St Clement and in our homes, we ask that you will still the busyness of our minds and open our hearts to your presence with us.


Holy God, you made our world to be like a vineyard and chose people to be its tenants. May we, who are now the workers in that vastly changed vineyard, prove to be worthy of the work you trust us to do in Jesus’ name.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Mighty God, we pray for our church; that Christ may be the cornerstone of all that we do in his name. May we, his living Church, be the solid blocks of a spiritual community which continues to hold fast, in an ever- secular world.


We give thanks that we are worshipping together. Help us to waste none of today’s hours and to miss none of today’s opportunities.

Thank you for the gifts that you have given us – individually and collectively – and help us to use them to further your Kingdom here on earth -

Eyes to see and perceive

Ears to hear and listen

Hands to work and create

Minds to think and innovate

Memories to remember and learn from

Hearts to love and worship


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Creator God, we pray for our world so divided and torn apart. We pray for the governments of the world that they may govern with authority and not just power.

We pray for all those who are subjected to injustice, hate and fear purely because they are different, or they speak up for the rights of the vulnerable and under-valued.

May we show your given authority to each of us, by the way we use your given gifts for the wellbeing of all.

Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Lord, we pray for our community:

For teachers and children now into the school new year and for lecturers and students in our colleges and universities.

For healthcare and social workers in their mission to improve the wellbeing of those who are sick and unwell.

For those in the armed forces as they prepare for the challenges in a dangerous world.

For volunteers, carers and those who undertake work for which they are not paid.

For our church today and in the coming weeks as we discern your will.

Lord, guide and inspire our community, in all we do this week and beyond.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Gracious God, friend of those in need, your Son Jesus Christ can free us from our burdens and heal our bodies and spirits. We pray for those still burdened, those who are lonely, sad, or afraid; those seeking healing, those within the church and the world.

Lord surround those in need with your wisdom, your Spirit, your                        healing, your love, and your life-giving peace.


We especially bring before you:

Ken and Diane, May, Terry and Dot, Margaret, Maureen, Pam and David, Brian, Rupert and Linda, Diana, Michael and Patricia, Rob and Alison, Stella, Alison, Callum, Jay, Andy, Margaret and Karen, Archdeacon Paul, his wife Fiona and his family.

We also remember those who have no one to care or pray for them.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Merciful God, we pray for all whose earthly journey has come to an end. Now free from pain and suffering, please welcome them into your Heavenly Kingdom where they may have eternal peace.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us


Faithful God, as we move into the coming week, may we live and work for your Gospel. Help us to travel onwards with our eyes on the goal, to that place where you are beckoning us, onward to Jesus.


Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. 



Gathering our prayers and praises into one,

Let us pray with confidence as our risen Lord taught us:


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.


AUTHORITY by Margaret Moran


Not above someone,

‘Tis serving, laying down our

Lives as done for us.


Prayer of Peace


God will speak peace to his people, to those who turn to him in their hearts.


The peace of the Lord be always with you


Hymn: 235 Forth in thy name, O Lord I go




Lord God, we rejoice in your greatness and power, your gentleness and love, your mercy and justice.

Enable us by your Spirit to honour you in our thoughts, words, and actions, and to serve you in every aspect of our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
















Page last updated: 29th September 2023 7:38 AM