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         St Clement Church Community Sixth after Trinity Sunday Service



Good morning and welcome to our service.

‘The Sower’ – a story that can be read literally, but if one knows anything at all about agriculture or horticulture, it really doesn’t make sense, does it?                                                                                                                                          But, ‘The Sower’ is a parable, and parables are not literal stories, they have an extra, a hidden meaning.

It is not only parables that have a deeper meaning. The older I become, the more I realise that there are events, situations and words used, that I should not necessarily take at face value.

How often I see, but I do not perceive; how often I read, or ‘listen,’ but I  do not understand.

I need to be much more aware and open to all aspects of life around me.           What about you?                                                          

With love to all



Let us pray;


Heavenly Father, we come before you today in humility and faith.                                       We thank you for all you have given us and the many blessings in our lives.                                                                                                                                   We ask for your guidance and strength.                                                                      Show us the way and fill us with courage and wisdom.                                                       Help us to remember your love and grace and to be faithful in our service to you.                                                                                                                              Give us the patience and understanding to face life’s challenges with grace.                                                                                                                                       We ask these things in your name.



We say together:


Dear Lord, as we rise to meet each new day, please let us be filled with Your Spirit. Wherever we go, let us spread love, joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness. Let us desire to become more like You and to worship You in all we do. Help us desire these things so much more than the sin that entices us. Thank You for always going before us.                                                               In Jesus’ Name, Amen


Hymn:  784 Ye servants of God


Prayer of Penitence


When we cry out to the Lord in our trouble                                                                    he will deliver us from our distress.


God will bring us out of darkness                                                                                                     and out of the shadow of death.


Lord, have mercy                                                                                                                 Lord, have mercy.


Christ have mercy                                                                                                                                           Christ, have mercy.


Lord, have mercy                                                                                                                              Lord, have mercy.


May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son                                                                   and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days.


Let us give thanks to the Lord for His goodness                                                                     and the wonders He does for His children.


Let us offer sacrifices of thanksgiving                                                                              and tell of His acts with shouts of joy.



Let us pray our 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 forever.






Isaiah 55. 10 - 13

Romans 8. 1 - 11


Hymn: 152 For the beauty of the earth


Gospel: Matthew 13. 1 – 9, 18 - 23

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’)


Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake.                                                                  Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.                                                                 And he told them many things in parables, saying, ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.                                                                                                 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.                                                                                                                           Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.                                                                                                                                        Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.                                                                                          Let anyone with ears listen!


Hear then the parable of the sower.                                                                                    When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.                                                                                          As for what was sown on the rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.                                     As for what was sown among thorn, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.                                                                                                                                  But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the world and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’


(This is the Gospel of the Lord.    Praise to you, O Christ.)




I don’t know if you do, but I remember watching the news with my parents, many years ago, when I was a child and in my teens, when we were shown pictures from the Southern states of America where African Americans were forbidden into white areas of cities and their children were bussed great distances away from ‘white’ schools.                                                                                                     Growing up here in Truro, there was only one black family and, to be honest, none of us really noticed that they were any different from the rest of us.

A pastor spent a couple of days in Selma, Alabama. He stopped at a petrol station at the edge of the town to fill up before heading home. He went inside to pay. He noticed an elderly black man sitting on a chair. He smiled at the man and said, ‘Hello.’                                                                         The man just nodded and said, ‘Boss.’ Then he said, ‘Forty cents a day I plowed dem fields, boss. Forty cents a day!’ Then he got louder. ‘Forty cents a day I tell you. Forty cents a day, boss!’ Then he got out his wallet. He held up two one-dollar bills. He was quiet, calculating. Then he began to wave the two one-dollar bills and said, ‘This was five days of my life boss. Forty cents a day. Forty cents a day!’                                                                          The pastor kept silent; not sure what to do, what to think or feel.

I wonder what we would have said or done?


Today’s Gospel reading made me think of that man and the ground on which he walked. I suspect he often walked the hard packed path of prejudice, where not much grows, where life and opportunities are too quickly snatched away. I bet he knew what it was like to live between a rock and a hard place. On the rocky ground life withers because you can’t put down roots. There’s no security or stability and the sun scorches. He surely walked amongst the thorns of violence, fear, anger, and poverty. I have no doubt that those thorns wrapped themselves around him and his family choking away, dignity, security, trust. I hope the best soil that he walked through was not the forty cents a day soil that he ploughed. I hope he stood in the dark rich soil that nourished life, love and hope.


We may not have ploughed fields for forty cents a day but we all know the different landscapes of which Jesus speaks. We know the beaten path of life. We’ve stumbled through the rocky patches of life. We’ve been scratched and cut by the thorns of life. And, we have planted out roots deep in the sacred soil of life that feeds and grows us to become a harvest, in one case, a hundredfold, in another sixty and in another thirty.


Jesus isn’t talking about different types of soil or even circumstances of life. He is describing our inner geography. Theses are the various landscapes of the human heart. We have met these in others and discovered them in ourselves. We are rarely just one type of soil. We are all four. The four soils are descriptive of how we live and relate to others and to God. Jesus’ interpretation of the parable, when he tells what happens to the seeds, describes the consequences of each kind of life.


At one level, the parable invites us to be self-reflective and examine the kind of life we are living. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but I think that’s how we most often use and, unfortunately, abuse this parable. We live in a world that thrives on competition, comparison, and judgement. So, we reduce the parable to one obvious question. ‘What kind of dirt are you?’ So, the danger is, we put ourselves in the centre of the parable and push the Sower into the background.


We tend to read and try to understand parables through the lens of our world and worldview. The result is that we hear but we do not understand, we see but we do not perceive. The parable doesn’t make sense. A farmer goes out and sows seed on a public pathway, on rocky ground, and amongst thorns. That is simply wasteful, inefficient, and ineffective. It’s bad farming. The sower is not much of a farmer. You can’t plant seeds among the rocks and thorns or on a path and then act surprised or complain that nothing grows. The story Jesus tells simply doesn’t fit into our world.                                                                                                        To know that is the beginning of understanding this parable.


Parables offer a different perspective, a new world-view. They give us a glimpse into God’s world and what God is like. They heal our ears and eyes so that we may hear and understand, see and perceive. Parables are not meant to test human intelligence. They are paradoxical anecdotes or riddles without a solution that demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and provoke enlightenment of grace that test our heart’s willingness to surrender to and be enveloped in the always surprising generosity of God. The surprising generosity is exactly what the parable of the sower reveals.


As different as the four soils are, they hold two things in common – seeds and the sower. The sower sows the same seeds in all four soils with equal toil, equal hope, and equal generosity. The sower does so without evaluation of the soil’s quality or potential. There is no soil left unsown. No ground is declared undeserving of the sower’s seeds. This is not about the quality of dirt. It’s about the quality of God, the divine sower. We want to judge what kind of dirt we are. God simply wants to sow his life in ours. Whether we are forty cents a day or £400 a day soil we are sown with the seeds of God. No life, no person, no soil is left unsown.


Seeds, here, seeds there, seeds everywhere. That just seems like bad planning. Given today’s economy that’s just wasteful. By today’s farming practices it is inefficient. With the cost of seeds and the time spent sowing it may not even be profitable. These are not, however, the sower’s concerns. They are our concerns. Thankfully this parable is about God’s faithfulness and not about farming, soil quality, or how things work in this world. In the sower’s world, wastefulness gives way to hope, inefficiency to love, and profitability to generosity. Every part of our life has been sown with the seeds of God and you know what happens to seeds.

Given the right conditions apple seeds become apples. Peach seeds becomes peaches. God’s seeds become … God.




Affirmation of our faith


Let us declare our faith in God.

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 Holy Spirit,                                                                                       born of 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,              

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come 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.




Hymn: 189 God is working his purpose out




Our Intercessions


Let us join-together in praying to God for the needs of the Church, the world, our communities, and ourselves, trusting in his love which reaches out from before the foundation of the world.


We pray for God’s Church which is struggling with so much inner turmoil. You created us all in in your own image and yet we are all so different. May all branches of your Church with their differing styles of worship and ideology, accept and delight in the differences and yet be joined in our common love of you.

We pray for all those who have been called to be prophets and teachers. May they be strengthened and protected by the Holy Spirit.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us.


We pray for the leaders of the world carrying responsibilities for the lives of their people. We pray for all victims of the world’s injustices and for a new spirit of righteousness and integrity in the hearts of the powerful.


Lord, hear us; Lord, graciously hear us.


We pray for the people of our parish and the communities in which we live, especially for those who feel excluded, exploited, or ignored. We pray that as God’s people we may work to build a community as open and generous as God’s love shown to us in Christ Jesus.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.


 Lord, we have rejoiced at the sight of the sun breaking through the clouds for an instant to illuminate a small field. We have gazed in wonder at the ocean. And, in those moments, we have glimpsed a sight of your face. And then the mundane concerns of the every-day world re-surface and we forget the glories of these treasures. Help us to live in the moment. Help us to never forget these times when we are filled with awe at the marvels of creation, and lost in wonder, love, and praise.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.


We pray that God will bring healing in body mind or spirit to all who are troubled. We pray that in lives darkened by any kind of pain or distress, the light of Christ will bring comfort, hope, and a sense of God’s all- encompassing love.

Give us, and all who are in pain, courage today. Courage that we may think about something other than the distress that we feel. Courage that we may not dwell on a future which we fear may be bleak. Courage to put ourselves in the place of those around us and spare them the misery of watching the suffering of those whom they love. Give all who suffer the strength to look outwards, rather than inwards. May your eternal spirit flood our souls and bodies, filling every corner with light and grace; so that we may be diffusers of life, meeting all ills with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving you thanks for all things.

We bring before you today: Ken and Di, Terry and Dot, Brian, Margaret, Maureen, Rupert and Linda, Pam and David, Barrie and Sandra, Diana, Suki, Michael and Patricia, Rob and Alison, Stella, Alison, Jan, Andy, all those known to each of us and all those who have no one to pray for them.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.


We pray for all those who have died this week – in war, in violence, in natural and man-made disasters, in accidents, in hospital or at home. Welcome them into your eternal kingdom where pain and suffering are no more and they are now at peace.

Be with all those grieving for loved ones that they may feel your comforting love, ensuring that all is and will be well.


Lord, hear us: Lord, graciously hear us.


Loving God, we thank you for hearing our prayers, for encouraging us as we gather-together and for feeding us with your Word. Take us and use us to love and serve you, and all people.


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



Gathering our prayers and praises into one,

Let us pray with confidence as our risen Lord 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.


Parable of the Sower by Edward Kofi Louis


Thick forest!                                                                                                                                Entering in!                                                                                                                                  Think twice                                                                                                                                Of the animals to meet;                                                                                                              Like a parable                                                                                                                        Like parallel lines,                                                                                                                     Like a proverb!                                                                                                                                        Able to follow the right path                                                                                                  Parable of the sower!


To sow today and reap tomorrow                                                                                        But, with the right soil.                                                                                                                 Attaining the status of the truth.                                                                                                 Land of love                                                                                                                                       Garden of peace.                                                                                                                       Life is like the parable of the sower.                                                                                           Wisdom is the key                                                                                                                Thick bush with the blues of nature                                                                                 Brush your life with the muse of the truth.                                                                          Don’t rush                                                                                                                                     Able to follow the right path.


Moving along                                                                                                                                                                Step by step with the romance of nature!                                                                                  Life’s own rules                                                                                                                    Natural laws;                                                                                                                               Problems to love and to life                                                                                                       Like an adventure through the thick forest                                                                                   Following the narrow path                                                                                                       Able to reach your destination.                                                                                                 Earth and problems!                                                                                                             Earth with our works!                                                                                                                  Earth and mankind!


Systems like the parable of the sower                                                                                         Rich soil and bad soil!                                                                                                                  Only to feed your mind with the truth                                                                                        And to heed to righteous laws.




Prayer of Peace


Blessed are the peacemakers:                                                                                           they shall be called children of God.

We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.


Let us greet one another as a sign of God’s peace.


Hymn: 708 To God be the glory! great things He has done




May there always be work for our hands to do.                                                                      May our purse always hold a coin or two.                                                                              May the sun always shine on our window pane.                                                                      May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.                                                                            May the hand of a friend always be near to us and                                                                   May God fill our heart with gladness to cheer us.

















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