Good morning everyone and I hope you are well, things are changing now for the school holidays and this will affect our children’s services. Our Worship On Wednesday service will be on holiday until the 6th September and little church will also be on holiday until the 10th September. Everything else will run as normal including the Tuesday 10.30 service. Don’t forget the coffee evening at Helena and Mike’s on the 22ndAugust at 7pm.
We are doing confirmation classes differently this year and we are running the children’s classes (Year 7 and above) as a team through TYC with some extra sessions. The adults of course will be run separately. If anyone is interested please see me or Jo for a form.
Today’s Gospel is once again one of the parables from Matthew, it’s about the wheat and the weeds and the explanation of its relevance to the kingdom of God. Rev Hannah has done the reflection and I have done the intercessions.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Lord, direct our thoughts and teach us to pray. Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
The Holy Spirit fills the world and knows our every word and deed. Let us then open ourselves to the Lord and confess our sins in penitence and faith.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, through our own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what we have left undone. We are heartily sorry and repent of all our sins. For your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with heartfelt repentance and true faith turn to him; have mercy on us and deliver us from our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us. You are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen
Generous God, you give us gifts and make them grow: though our faith is small as mustard seed, make it grow to your glory and the flourishing of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
ROMANS 8. 12-25
Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord.
MATTHEW 13. 24-30, 36-43
Jesus put before the crowd another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’
Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
When I first started exploring a vocation to ministry I was told by one person that I met with “you know, nobody would blame you if you were to just grow and bloom where you are planted”. I often think about that, and it takes on a different meaning each time I do.
Last week we heard about Jesus telling his disciples the parable of the sower, this week we hear another garden/growing based parable from Jesus. Only this time it is about weeds.
If you have a garden or allotment, a great deal of time and effort will be spent weeding it. We might use weedkiller or weed burners or good old-style hoeing to rid ourselves of unwanted plants, and need to repeat this regularly. The sower’s approach in Jesus’ story seems to run against our gardening instincts in allowing the weeds to remain. They will share the resources of the wheat as they grow alongside it. They may even grow more vigorously than the wheat but, come the harvest, their fate is sealed. When something bad happens, we often want justice straight away, we want the situation dealt with immediately. The implication here is that God doesn’t work like that. Justice and judgement belongs to God, but in God’s time. Our responsibility is to be wheat, and leave the rest up to God.
The weeds are planted by ‘an enemy’ – identified in the story as ‘the devil’. In Jesus’ time, fields were not separated by hedgerows or walls but marked by boundary stones. A rival farmer could easily sow weeds in a neighbour’s field to reduce their crop and to ensure a better return for their own produce.
The sower in Jesus’ story is affected by an enemy that sows the weeds, but the sower’s control over the fields, and his power ultimately to rule on the fate of everything there, is never challenged. God is God – there is no other – and God has promised to bless people and to rule the world with justice. When we become anxious at our struggles or the relative successes of those who work by less honest paths, we betray a lack of trust in God’s goodness and power to fulfil those promises. Spending too much time looking at the weeds that distract or threaten us stops us from seeing the full majesty of God and knowing that we can trust God to give us all that we need. Jesus reminds us that God is in control and that, in the words of St Julian of Norwich, ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’.
Thinking back to my own experience of being reminded that I could bloom and grow where I was planted then and combining it with this interpretation today make it clear to me that no matter where we are, there will always be weeds. There will always be something or someone competing with us for resources. But our rootedness lies in God, and as such we are stronger than the weeds with shallow roots and nothing strong to hold on to. So I encourage you to grow, bloom and be rooted where you are planted, ever fixed upon the strength you find in God. – Rev Hannah
I believe in God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated on the right hand of the Father; he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, you have given us a beautiful and perfect world for us to live in, but we have abused and squandered its resources. Lord in your goodness and mercy help us to put things right and enable others to see your beauty and your grace. We give thanks that you have called us to work with you through the power of the Holy Spirit, we ask you for wisdom and love in all our work. We ask your blessing on our churches and ministry teams that we may do your work to the glory of your name and support and love one another.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for the balance and harmony of your creation. We pray for all who are working to stop pollution of land, air, and sea, for all who are trying to protect species from extinction and to provide food to feed all in the world. We pray for all who strive for justice and welfare of all people.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We pray for our families and friends, for all who are having difficulties in their relationships and all who are lonely or finding life difficult. We think of those who do not have a permanent home or who are living in poverty both here and around the world. We thank you for all who are trying to improve things for them. As the school holidays start we pray for children’s safety and welfare, and that those looking after them get time and patience. We pray that teachers and those working in schools and colleges and places of learning are able to rest and recuperate over the next few weeks.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We pray for those who are sick in body mind or spirit, we ask you to help and protect them from further harm. We pray for those who are caring for them in any way and ask you to give them strength and patience and hope in their work. We remember especially. Rev Peter Reiss, Thomas Causton, Stanley Schofield, Sue Roberts, Colin Roberts and Stephen Haslam.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
We give thanks that you are a loving and forgiving God; in you we can be healed, restored and renewed. We ask your blessing on our loved ones departed, that they may know and rejoice in your love. From our book of remembrance; William Ellis Greenhalgh, Alan Davis, Enid Burgess, Edith Wood and Janet M Bisset. We commit ourselves and all of creation to your saving power and glory.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May God give to us and to all those we love, his comfort and peace, his light and his joy, in this world and the next, and the blessing of God almighty the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us now and for always. Amen.