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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service 19.7.20

 

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service, whether in your own home or our church building, and is being led this week by Liz Davies.  

As things stand at the moment, our services in church will be the same as our Sunday community service as emailed round to everyone, so please bring your copy with you if attending.

Regarding the development of a ‘safe’ Eucharist service I’ll let you know when this is feasible for us at St Clement.

Please rest assured that surfaces will be cleaned each Sunday morning before our worship and hand sanitiser is available for your use as you enter and leave the building.

Sadly the Covid19 ‘R’ rate is increasing, albeit slightly, so please continue to be careful when you go out, and don’t forget your masks when shopping!

Much love and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Rev Di and family xx

 

 

Let us pray;

Creator God, you made us all in your image: may we discern you in all that we see, and serve you in all that we do: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 

There is no other commandment greater than these.

 

Let us confess our failures truly to serve God and our neighbour:

Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

We confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be;

That we may do justly, love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.  Amen.

 

May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for the 6th 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 our Lord.  Amen.

 

 

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of 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!

 

 

Our Reflection this week is written by Liz Davies   

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Maybe you’ve wondered this yourself, or know someone who has. It’s certainly something that people ask when they are at the end of their tether.                                                             If, for a moment, we consider some of the things that are happening around our world -  fighting between people of the same nation and other nations, people being murdered, innocent children starving and suffering from painful and debilitating illnesses, children and young people being abused by family members and strangers, people suffering from the effects of natural disasters and so much more – we can well understand why we, as Christians, are asked, and indeed ask ourselves, ‘If God is a loving God, why doesn’t he stop all the evil things that go on in our world? Why doesn’t He destroy all those who do such evil things?’                                                          

These last few months, when Coronavirus has swept across the world, it’s a thought that has come into many minds when we’ve learnt of the deaths of so many people. It seems so hard that doctors, nurses and care workers who have been working for the good of so many sick people have lost their lives.

The people who gathered on the beach to listen to Jesus telling them stories weren’t much different. They’d experienced oppression from Rome. Even among their own people, they had watched the rich get richer while the poor got poorer. Life wasn’t fair.

How could God allow his people to continue to suffer, while evil seemed to flourish around them? When would the Messiah deliver them from this miserable existence, and bring judgement to Israel’s oppressors?

Yet here was Jesus, looking and sounding very much like he might just be the One, telling them stories about farming! Who cares about weed control, when your world is falling down around your ears? ‘Let anyone with ears listen,’ Jesus says, and we are reminded that these parables are more than just entertaining stories.

How we hear these stories very much depends on the condition of our hearts and minds. Wherever we may be in our journey of faith, these stories speak directly to us in our own current circumstances.

Today’s Gospel reading is another agricultural parable. Last Sunday we read the parable of the sower and the four soils. Now Jesus is speaking of the wheat and the weeds.                                                                                                                                        If you are a gardener, you will have every sympathy with the farm hands who want to pull up the weeds and destroy them but the landowner won’t allow such a direct action – why not?                                                                                                             The weeds that have grown up amongst the wheat are an annual grass that looks very much like wheat. Trying to distinguish the one from the other in the early stages of growth is nearly impossible.

As the plants mature, the roots of the weeds and the wheat intertwine and become almost inseparable. Yet separating them is necessary. Unless the weeds are removed, then flour made from the wheat will be ruined by the weeds, which are both bitter and mildly toxic. The usual solution is to harvest the plants, spread them out on a flat surface and then remove the weeds, which by this stage, are a different colour from the wheat.

So, the weeds can only be separated from the wheat at the proper time, following the harvest. This now makes sense of what the landowner said, ‘Let both of them grow together until the harvest.’                                          This may well make sense to us in the context of growing wheat in a field where there are weeds, but in terms of elsewhere in our world where there are such dreadful things happening, we want to get rid of all those at the root of these issues or at least expect God to do so.                                                                                   From our perspective, who are the weeds growing so rapidly in the wheat field of our world?

These are the plants we want to yank out by the roots. These are the people we want to ‘lock up and lose the key.’ These are the people we want to destroy.                                                                                                                                       There are times when many of us, at least momentarily, see this as the obvious solution. We want the wheat field of the world to flourish with wheat, and not to be scarred by weeds. Or we sublimate our rage, our impotence, our despair into a question about God. Why doesn’t God do something about those people, whoever they are? Where is God when they commit these terrible crimes?

The parable doesn’t deny that there are weeds in the wheat. It doesn’t suggest for a moment that the world is free from evil. Instead, the weeds are all too visible. The landowner knows what’s happened – ‘An enemy has done this.’

Yes, the world is a terribly broken place. What is meant to be a wheat field is hosting countless weeds.  The landowner says, ‘Let both grow until the harvest.’ The original Greek word ‘let’ has two meanings – permit or allow (as we would understand it) but it also means – pardon or forgive.

It’s with this meaning that the word appears in the Lord’s Prayer in the line where we say, ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’  Easy to say, but not always so easy to do.                                                                                                                            If we take the second meaning, then ‘Let both grow together until the harvest’ carries a sense of forgiveness toward the malicious enemy.

God, the landowner, practices forgiveness and patience. Certainly, this patience and forgiveness appears to be how God functions in the world. If we look around, we see everywhere in the world the weeds and the wheat growing together, sometimes in dramatic, horrible ways – sometimes in ordinary, ugly ways.

Let us be honest – sometimes we are the wheat and sometimes we are the weeds. God gives us all amazing latitude to make choices, to do right, even to do wrong to the point of inflicting grievous harm on others and ourselves. God doesn’t pull people out of the mire of their mistakes by condemning them, but by forgiving them.

It’s a strange way to run the world. Often, we would like God to throw thunderbolts – only at our enemies, of course. But God doesn’t work in that way, He has a much more different approach.

Once the harvest is in, the weeds will be recognised for what they are and will be thrown into the fire. There’s mercy, but there’s also justice.

There’s a God who welcomes us with open arms, and there are some of us – just maybe – who will always insist on keeping our distance. Wheat and weeds. Who’s one and who’s another?

Evil is real, but it is not ultimate. It never has the last word. Greater by far are those who shine in their Father’s kingdom, those who mirror the bright light of divine compassion.

Such was one person who, amid the horrors of Ravensbruck concentration camp, found faith and hope enough to write a prayer.

This prayer points us past the enemy’s evil action to the wonder of the harvest. It attests that the landowner’s forbearance is not foolishness, but wisdom.

 

‘O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will                                                      but also those of ill will.                                                                                                                          But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted;                                                              remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering -                                                    our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity,                                      the greatness of heart which has grown out of all of this,                                                                 and when they come to judgement,                                                                                                       let all the fruits which we have born be their forgiveness.’ Amen

 

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God:

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist.  We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith. We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Our Intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies 

Our loving God is mindful of all who need Him and does great things for His creation. Let us not be afraid to ask for what we need today.

Everlasting God, we join together in praying to You for the needs of the Church, the world, our communities and ourselves, trusting in Your love which reaches out from before the foundation of the world.

 

Creator God, we pray for Your world. Forgive us when we are ungrateful when spiritual blindness prevents us from appreciating the wonder of Your creation and endless cycle of nature. Forgive us for taking without giving, reaping without sowing.  

We pray for the farmers of the world many of whom still use those methods described by Jesus, and we especially pray that they may be treated with fairness for their labours. We especially remember all those farmers in this country who are struggling to survive.

 

Father God, we thank You for the love we share with our families and friends. We recognise that they may have faults and they love us in spite of ours. Help us to be flexible and adaptable in all our relationships and also accepting of constructive criticism.  

                                                                                                                           Loving God and Lord of life, we pray for the gift of courage to face up to and cope with all suffering of body, mind or spirit. We pray for ourselves and for those known to us. We especially remember Father Harold, Esther, Maureen and Jack.   

                                                                                                                                We thank You for those who through their courage have come through such times and for those facing the reality that there is little light at the end of the earthly tunnel. Be with them, their families and friends and may they know that they are never alone.

 

Gracious God, give us ears to hear and minds to understand the message of immortality for the children of Your kingdom so that we may look forward with patience and confidence to the time when we will join You in the peace of eternity. We especially pray for any we know who have recently died and are on that journey to You.

 

Now, let us pray in silence for our own needs and intentions. Faithful God, we thank You for the opportunity of being together in prayer.

As we look forward to the week to come, we pray for an awareness of Your love and support in all we do. May we use the gifts that You have given us – individually and collectively – to further Your kingdom here on earth.

Eyes to see and perceive,                                                                                                                            Ears to hear and listen,                                                                                                                                  Hands to work and create,                                                                                                                            Minds to think and innovate,                                                                                                                    Memories to remember and learn from,                                                                                                 Hearts to love and worship.    

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

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.   And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

 

 

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.  In the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body.  Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and build up our common life.  May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.

 

 

Blessing

May God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side and guide us in truth and peace.  And may the presence of God watch over us, the power of God protect us, those whom we love, and may we never forget that wherever we are, God is with us always, to the end of the age.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 16th July 2020 1:58 PM