Sunday 19/7/20

On this page 
Service, sermon, readings, prayers & hymns.


8.10 am Radio 4 Sunday Worship  celebrates the Roman Catholic 'Year of the Word' from Leeds
9.00 am The Church of England will livestream a service led by students training for the ministry on "Suffering is not the final word" at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/join-us-church-online/weekly-online-services/suffering-not-final-word
10.00 am Chester Cathedral will livestream the Cathedral Eucharist at: https://chestercathedral.com/stream/
The Prayer Book Society are continuing to livestream a wide range of BCP Services available at: https://www.pbs.org.uk/churches-and-services/-1
10.30 am  Christ Church Gipsy Hill are continuing to livestream a more modern style of worship at https://www.facebook.com/christchurchgipsyhill

A Sermon for the Sixth Sunday After Trinity
 Matthew 13: 24 – 30, 36 – 43 


Some years ago I was privileged to share the lives of the Aboriginal community of South Sydney for 5 weeks.  

This Aboriginal Community is utterly dislocated from their traditional way of life.  Displaced from their traditional lands by white settlers, they are now fringe dwellers on the edge of modern Sydney.  Belonging neither to their traditional communities, nor to 21st Century Sydney.

The Christian Aboriginal community is isolated still further. Their church is in the heart of the Aboriginal area, but that was where their contact with the community ends.  Inspired by 2 Corinthians 6:17, missionaries taught the Aboriginals to “Come out from among them and be separate from them.”  In other words, to have nothing to do with the world around them.  

It is a way of living Christian communities down the ages have tried to adopt.  An attempt to keep Christians pure and righteous.  For the Aboriginal Community of South Sydney this has been disastrous; further dislocating them from their traditional way of life. 

This exclusive model is one way of understanding what it means to live in a fallen world.  But there are others, most notably one which we attempt to live out in the Cross Country Parishes.  Living our lives as part of the community, whether that be through activities such as Tea at the Tower, Coffee and Chat, Coffee Cake and Chat, the Plant Sale or participating in events such as village fetes and Minshull Madness.

This is the pattern Jesus himself advocates in the parable of the Weeds and the Wheat.  This parable suggests it is far better for Christians to grow up as part of the community rather than removing themselves from anything that threatens to contaminate them.

The parable is easier to understand in the King James version, which calls the weeds ‘tares’.  Tares produce grain suitable for chicken feed but unsuitable for human consumption.  It was perfectly normal to have a few tares growing up in a healthy wheat field, but a crop contaminated with tares was serious.

Understandably, the farm labourers want to dig them out.  But that is a risky strategy.  The root systems of the wheat and the tares would be interwoven beneath the soil.  Uprooting the tares would uproot the wheat too.  Much better to separate the useful grain from the useless crop at harvest time.

It is the same in the Christian life.  Evil is clearly present in the world, but the relationship between good and evil is complex.  They are harder to separate than we may think

We may long for God to intervene in the destructive and traumatic events we have all witness, but would we welcome the consequences of that intervention?

To intervene in tragedy and catastrophe God would need direct rule of the world.  Every thought, deed and action would be weighed, judged and, where appropriate, instantly punished on the scales of God’s absolute holiness.  If we long for God to intervene in tragedy and catastrophe, we need to ask how we would feel if every impure impulse within us were instantly restrained and rebuked.  And which of us does not have impure impulses?  Would we really welcome instant judgement?

Is it not better to know that Evil has been defeated on the cross; it’s power limited?  However hampered the Kingdom of God may seem by ungodly behaviour, God’s victory is assured. In His time evil will be destroyed.

This is the meaning of the parable of the Wheat and Tares.  For now, there is no easy way to separate good and evil.  As Jesus warns us not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of God.  Only God knows who belongs to the Kingdom of God.  The Church must resist separating good from evil.  That is not our task.    Our task is simply to wait for the tares to mature along with the wheat.  

That does not mean we have nothing to do.  We have an active role to play as salt and light in the world around us.  After all, God has two purposes in delaying his harvest.  

First he wants neither to harvest tares nor to destroy a good harvest.  Secondly, as Jesus and later, St Paul tell us, God is compassionate.  He delays judgement so that the tares have the same chance as the wheat to find a place in the Kingdom of God. 

For now, we are the ones who reflect the light of Christ, however dimly, allowing those around us to glimpse their Creator and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

This parable set out to explain what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.  It grows up alongside the evil, tragedy and catastrophe in the world.  Slowly it grows to maturity.  One day, at a time of God’s choosing, the harvest will be gathered.  God will pass judgement with accuracy and mercy.  Our task is to grow slowly until the day dawns and the Kingdom of God comes in full.

Amen.
S Anne Lawson
16/7/2020




Prayers 

The 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 we can desire,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Post Communion Prayer

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.

For the peace of the whole world,
for the welfare of the Holy Church of God,
and for the unity of all,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For Mark and Keith our Bishops,
for all the leaders of our sister Churches,
and for all clergy and people,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For Elizabeth our Queen,
for the leaders of the nations,
and for all in authority,
let us pray to the Lord,
Lord, have mercy.

For the communities in which we live,
for every city, town or village,
and for all the people who live within them,
let us pray to the Lord,
Lord, have mercy.
For good weather,
and for abundant harvests for all to share,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy,

For those who travel by land, air, or water,
for the sick and the suffering 
for prisoners and captives,
and for their safety, health and salvation,
let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.

For our deliverance from all affliction, strife and need,
and for the absolution of our sins and offences,
let us pray to the Lord,
Lord, have mercy.

Remembering
all who have gone before us in faith,
and in communion with all the saints,
we commit ourselves, one another, 
and our whole life to Christ our God.

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



HYMNS

Come, ye thankful people come https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3n7IUCdqAM

Teach me, my God and King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G0MtBLtLrQ

Restore, O Lord, the honour of thy name https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkYRNs4C9OA

The Kingdom of God is justice and joy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOrkdW5NAM0