Ardoch Parish Church

Sunday 27th September 2020

Download a pdf copy of the Order of service:

27th September Order of Service pdf

Welcome to our Service of Worship and First Hymn

Hymn: “Meekness and Majesty”

Meekness and majesty,
Manhood and Deity,
In perfect harmony,
The Man who is God.
Lord of eternity
Dwells in humanity,
Kneels in humility
And washes our feet.

O what a mystery,
Meekness and majesty.
Bow down and worship
For this is your God,
This is your God.

Father’s pure radiance,
Perfect in innocence,
Yet learns obedience
To death on a cross.
Suffering to give us life,
Conquering through sacrifice,
And as they crucify
Prays: ‘Father forgive.’

Wisdom unsearchable,
God the invisible,
Love indestructible
In frailty appears.
Lord of infinity,
Stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity
To the heights of His throne.

Graham Kendrick
Copyright © 1986 Thankyou Music

Mairi leads us in prayer

Let us pray

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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever.



Our reader this morning is John Souter.  He is reading from Matthew 21: Verse 23-32

John introduces the Hymn “At the name of Jesus”

Authority, the word itself comes across very powerfully. Authority is the theme that we are exploring in today’s gospel. We read two accounts where different people have some very serious authority issues.  Firstly, we see the two sons challenge their father’s authority and then we read about how the chief priests and elders take issue with Jesus’ authority

But what about us, yes you and me, what authority issues do we have. We all have authority issues but I am not talking about authority issues in the way we usually understand them.

Today’s question on the surface appears quite obvious. Do we recognize and submit to the authority of Jesus as the father.

The difficulty begins when we confuse divine authority with human authority. We misunderstand it to be based on credentials and expertise, years of education, successes and accomplishments, status and reputation, or the position held in relationship to another. We see authority as something which comes from outside a person and that it is given them by their circumstances. It is an authority which they think they are entitled to have. We often react to these people in a negative manner thinking and even saying

“Who do you think you are?” “What gives you the right to tell me what to do?”, “You’re not the boss of me!” We really don’t like someone else teaching us, correcting us, or telling us what to do and neither did the chief priests in today’s passage “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” they say to Jesus and we see it very clearly in the refusal of the two sons to go to the vineyard.

There is, however, another authority issue imbedded in today’s gospel. That issue relates directly to us it is our failure and sometimes our refusal to recognize, claim, and exercise the authority within us; to actually go to the vineyard.

What we need to be able to see and understand is that every single day God authorizes us to enter and sends us into his vineyard, to act in this world with his authority and on his behalf through the gifts he has bestowed upon each and every one of us.

True authority always comes from within. It is a God-given quality. That’s what the chief priests and elders failed to understand.  They chose to exchange their God-given authority for human power.

Sometimes we do too, don’t we. That’s what’s happening in much of our world today.

Power struggles always emerge where there is a lack of authority. Look at our political system. Look at the wars throughout the world. Look at the conflicts in your own relationships. Those issues are always about power, they are never about authority. Our leaders exercise power but very few exercise authority. When we exercise power we look to our own interests but when we exercise authority we look to the interests of others.

If you just take a moment to look at the people who hold authority for you. They are not concerned about themselves. They do not dominate or control you. Their aim is simply to inspire you.  They expand your world, open new possibilities, and bring forth life and gifts in yourself that you never knew were there. They cause you to re-evaluate your life, change your mind, and live differently. Now that sounds an awful lot like Jesus and it’s very different from those who exercise power.

I know people who have no leadership position, title, or theological credentials and yet they have such great authority. How can I say that?  I can because I see it in their compassion and gentleness. I hear it in the way they pray. I feel it in their love for me and others. They too show me the way to the vineyard of my life. But it’s not about them. It doesn’t come from them.

All authority originates in God, but it is not exclusive to God. God shares his authority with us. The authority God shares with us is nothing less than his own divine attributes. It is the expression and manifestation of God’s life in and through our own.

I do not have more authority than you. I do not have better authority than you. I just have a different authority. God gives each of us gifts and authority unique to our lives. We know that God is generous and extravagant with the gifts he gives and the authority he shares. We all have God-given gifts and authority.

There is no one without authority. The difference isn’t that some have authority and others don’t. The difference is that some recognize and exercise their authority and others do not. 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 recognise it, we are changed people and we more than happily go to the vineyard.


Our closing hymn is : “How Great Thou Art”

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