Morning Worship for Fifth Sunday after Trinity

12th July 2020

A video of this service (28 mins) is available.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and also with you.

Confession

Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against him. Let us then renounce our willfulness and ask his mercy by confessing our sins in penitence and faith. Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord, we come to you in sorrow for our sins, and confess to you our weakness and unbelief. We have lived by our own strength, and not by the power of your resurrection. In your mercy, forgive us. Lord, hear us and help us. We have lived in the light of our own eyes, as faithless and not believing. In your mercy, forgive us. Lord, hear us and help us. We have lived for this world alone, and doubted our home in heaven. In your mercy, forgive us. Lord, hear us and help us. May the God of love and power forgive you and free you from your sins, heal and strengthen you by his Spirit, and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect

Almighty God, send down upon your Church the riches of your Spirit, and kindle in all who minister the gospel your countless gifts of grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading:
Genesis 25: 19-34
New Testament Reading:
Romans 8: 1-11
Gospel Reading:
Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

Reflection by the Revd Ian Monks

Sowing the seed by broadcasting it, would have been a familiar sight to those who first heard Jesus talk about the sower, but it is not to most of us. It put me in mind of my life in the country during the war when food was scarce, I remember going down to the farm one day and seeing the farmer rig up a strange hand-held contraption with a bag of seed, and sow the edges of the field, close to the ditch, too narrow for a tractor.

The thought that first struck me after I had reread the Gospel was the varieties of the yield from the seed which fell on “good soil”, some 100, some 60, some 30 fold, which then brought two other thoughts into my mind. The first obviously “why”, but also that the farmer didn’t seem at all put out, that for whatever reason, good soil did not produce a uniform crop!! Which I took as words of comfort and reassurance for these strange times through which we are passing, we can’t actual know how effective we are being at living out the Gospel. However...

It should be our delight and joy to continue sowing the seed, not necessarily by word of mouth but by kind deeds and with a cheerful face with little or no idea at all of how the seed sown will develop. The fact that we won’t be able to perceive how our part of the crop is progressing should not hold us back from continuing the effort. As we age and can’t “do” as much as before, there is one thing we can continue to do, and that is pray. Considering prayer as action, may be turning the world upside down, and putting the cart before the horse, but that is quite clearly, the message that comes out of the Old Testament lesson.

Isaac and Rebekah are supposed to produce children as “descendants of Abraham”, but Rebekah is barren. So, once again fulfilment depends entirely on God, Isaac prays and his prayer is granted. Hint again to us to pray. Then we hear of a struggle in the womb, followed by an explanation, then the story of the birth of Esau and Jacob a big hint that the normal order of things in to be turned upside down. Preferring the younger to the elder runs counter to all natural expectations, and emphasizes God is working in the course of events, which are not turning out as they were expected to do!!

And neither is the world in which we live today, anything any of us could have imagined a few months ago. But, there is no putting back the clock, however difficult we may find it we have to live in the here and now, doing the best we can to show the love of God to a hungry and expectant world.

I am reminded of a spoof cartoon from the Telegraph of long ago:-

Wanted, workers for God...plenty of overtime.

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 for ever. Amen.

Blessing

The God of grace, who has called us to his eternal glory, restore, establish, strengthen us in all goodness; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen. Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God. Amen.