Sunday, 19th July

Together in Prayer

Greeting
O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare you praise!

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.

Silence

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
Amen.

Preparing our hearts
Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Reading: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
He put before them 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 he 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!

Thought for the week: Rev Sarah Hobbs
I’m certain my fellow allotment holders and vegetable gardeners have experienced just this same problem that Jesus has also observed. You’ve prepared the ground to a suitable tilth, carefully sown the carrot seed, watered it and waited! So why is it that so many other seedlings have germinated beautifully with just a few carrot seedlings struggling to hold their own? Now I have to admit to trying to remove the weeds in the row, inevitably with disastrous consequences! I’m condemning the weed seeds at the outset.

So now I’m wondering if as we read the newspaper or listen to the television news we are tempted to do exactly the same thing; by judging an announcement for a new initiative at the outset and not giving it a chance to work. Times are tough and it could have become easier to condemn rather than to praise a new concept and consider its possible benefits.

Jesus tells us unequivocally that God’s seed is good; he was able to look at his finished creation and declare that it was ‘very good’. Jesus explains by telling us that suffering does persist in the world not because of God’s indifference, but because of his mercy. And for each hour that he delays his judgement more souls will be saved from the greater suffering on that final day. Our role is clear, there is good seed in this row of carrots, some just germinate slower than others, and it’s our work to identify the good seedlings and to nurture and encourage
them to fruition. It’s not for us to judge and uproot the weeds, God is our judge.
As Fred bid us last week ‘Be joyful, keep the faith and do the small things’ – because the small things have the capacity to germinate and grow.

What do you think of the scripture reading? If you’re with others, maybe discuss the passage and include anything that inspires you or raises any questions for you.

Collect for the sixth Sunday after Trinity
Merciful God,
you have prepared for those who love you
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you
that we, loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
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 for ever.
Amen.

Intercessions
Merciful God,
We can do no good without you,
We come with our hopes and longings,
Our celebrations and burdens,
We pray that your goodness and life
Will grow within us. May your glory
Be revealed in our lives, and our homes,
That we would live as your children,
and look for the glimpses of your kingdom
Mighty God, generous saviour,
May your kingdom grow

We lift to you all whose lives are bound,
All who are longing for freedom
and peace. We pray for lives marred
by conflict, persecution, and corruption,
for the refugee, exploited and the homeless,
In your strength and grace,
Rescue the lonely and despairing,
Bring comfort to the grieving,
We pray for justice and hope
Mighty God, generous saviour,
May your kingdom grow.

We pray for the goodness of the earth,
The health of soil, water and air,
We pray for all creatures
affected by pollution.
As the nations seek a recovery
from the affects of the Covid-19 pandemic,
we pray for those nations where cases are rising
and where fear and confusion abounds,
we pray for the health of world economies,
and that economic and social recovery
will prioritise justice for the poor,
care for creation,
and dignity for all.
Mighty God, generous saviour,
May your kingdom grow.

Open prayer for God’s world, our communities, the church and for our lives

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
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 for ever.
Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever you may go.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.
Amen.