Home Worship 19th July

Let us light a candle as we begin our worship

Call to Worship

We worship the God who inhabits our world;
and indwells our lives.
We need not look up to find God,
we need only to look around:
within ourselves,
beyond ourselves,
into the eyes of another.
We need not listen for a distant thunder to find God,
we need only listen to the music of life,
the words of children,
the questions of the curious,
the rhythm of a heartbeat.
We worship the God who inhabits our world;
and who indwells our lives.

Hymn 107

First Plymouth, Nebraska

1 I sing the almighty power of God,
that made the mountains rise,
that spread the flowing seas abroad,
and built the lofty skies.

2 I sing the wisdom that ordained;
the sun to rule the day;
the moon shines full at his command,
and all the stars obey.

3 I sing the goodness of the Lord,
that filled the earth with food;
he formed the creatures with his word,
and then pronounced them good.

4   Lord, how your wonders are displayed;
where’er I turn mine eye,
if I survey the ground I tread,
or gaze upon the sky!

 5 God’s hand is my perpetual guard,
he guides me with his eye;
why should I then forget the Lord,
whose love is ever nigh?

Isaac Watts (1674–1748)


Let us pray,

Thank you God, for your promises, which are completely unbreakable. We thank you that you are always there for us, even when times are hard and it’s difficult to feel you close. Help us always to hold onto your promises, remembering the hope they bring us.

In Jesus’ name Amen.[1]

Prayer of Confession

(based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

Merciful God,

you plant each of us like seeds in the same field and together we are nourished and nurtured by the sun.  We sway in the wind and are refreshed by the rain. We are blessed by the knowledge that you want us to grow towards what you call us to be.
When we deprive others of that same opportunity,
forgive us.

When we want to uproot those whom we believe
do not belong in our part of the field,
forgive us.

When we label others as good or bad
rather than accept them for who they are,
forgive us.

When we are reluctant to acknowledge
that we ourselves are a mixture of weeds and wheat,
forgive us.


When we are afraid to look into the fields of our own lives
to see what is growing there,
forgive us.


O God, you know us inside and out, through and through.
You search us out and lay your hand upon us.
You know what we are going to say even before we speak.
So we pray that you will help us to reach out to the uprooted and rejected, the lonely and the outcast, and to develop and grow the good in ourselves, in others and in the world. 

This we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Reading

Psalm 86: 11-17   

11Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.14O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.15But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.16Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl.17Show me a sign of your favour, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Reflection 1

Have you ever listened to a hymn, song, or read a book and wondered that this might be the last best thing ever written? It says it all and no one will ever be able to produce something better than this. Maybe you felt a little sadness too! But, a few months later you come across something so amazing and thought this is the best thing ever. I certainly have had those kinds of experiences.

Going through difficult times we may think that all the good gifts from God have already been delivered to us. We say, “I don’t see anything good happening to me again.”  Our disappointments and waiting for the next best thing to happen to us could hinder us from seeing God’s blessing being scattered like a seed in our lives and around us. Sometimes it difficult for us to see our experiences as blessings just like sometimes it is hard to distinguish a weed from wheat.  

It says in the book of Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

(ESV)


God’s steadfast love and mercies never come to end for you and me; they are new every morning.  Let us continue to center ourselves in God’s steadfast love, rest in His presence, and be surprised by His goodness towards us. Amen

Reading

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43   

24He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And 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?’ 28He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30Let 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.’

36Then 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.” 37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Reflection 2

In his book “Matthew for Everyone” Bishop Tom Wright helps us to understand this passage.

“The Parable in our reading from Matthew (like so many parables) is all about waiting; and waiting is what we all find difficult. The farmer waits for the harvest-time, watching in frustration as the weeds grow alongside the wheat. Not only the farmer, but also the birds, wait for the tiny mustard seed to grow into a large shrub. The woman baking bread must wait for the leaven to spread its way through the dough until the whole loaf is mysteriously leavened. And that’s what God’s kingdom is like.

Jesus’ followers, of course, didn’t want to wait. If the kingdom was really present where Jesus was, coming to birth in what he was doing, then they wanted the whole thing at once. They weren’t interested in God’s timetable. They had one of their own, and expected God to conform to it.

Notice, in particular, what the servants say about the weeds. They want to go straight away into the cornfield and root out the weeds. The farmer restrains them, because life is never that simple. In their zeal to rid the field of weeds they are very likely to pull up some wheat as well….

…At the heart of the parable of the weeds and the wheat is the note of patience – not just the patience of the servants who have to wait and watch, but the patience of God himself. God didn’t and doesn’t enjoy the sight of a cornfield with weeds all over the place. But nor does he relish the thought of declaring harvest-time too soon, and destroying wheat along with weeds….

… We who live after Calvary and Easter know that God did indeed act suddenly and;
dramatically at that moment. When today we long for God to act, to put the world to
rights, we must remind ourselves that he has already done so, and that what we are
now awaiting is the full outworking of those events. We wait with patience, not like;
people in a dark room wondering if anyone will ever come with a lighted candle, but like people in early morning who know that the sun has arisen and are now waiting for the full brightness of midday.[2]


Our readings today are to encourage us to keep focused on God and to live in hope.
Through Jesus, God has shown us the way, even if the path is sometimes unclear.
“God authorized and commanded me to commission you (Jesus said): Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”[3]


Prayers of the People

For all the blessings of this life,
we give thanks to You, Creator God.
For families, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and strangers,
who nurture us, that the love of God may grow within.
That Your love, your Word, like a seed, may grow to produce in us, good fruit.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For the leaders of various nations and cities,
that they may lead with strong hearts and gentle hands and generous spirits,
with compassion and mercy, with wisdom and grace.
May they reflect your will guiding all their actions and decisions.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For those who serve in harms way,
those who live in dangerous places,
those who live in areas of war and strife,
those who live in fear,

those who worry about employment, bills, food,
and struggle just to find dignity in life.
May your grace bring peace and safety to all people, one to another.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For those who suffer from any illness or disease—of mind, body, or spirit.
Restore these, and all those we carry in our hearts, to fullness of health—
health as only you, O God, can bring.
May your mercy shower each of us with healing mercy and love.

May your love be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.

For those who are dying, and for those who have died.
Send forth your comforting love.
Give solace to those who mourn.
Console those who grieve.
May your grace surround us;
like a mantle upon our heads,
a shawl upon our shoulders,
a hand, to hold our hand.

May your love, be like a seed, taking root and growing strong.
Amen


Tabernacle Welsh Church

Hymn 465

1   Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore;
feed me now and evermore.

2   Open thou the crystal fountain;
whence the healing stream shall flow;
let the fiery, cloudy pillar;
lead me all my journey through
strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield;
be thou still my strength and shield.

3   When I tread the verge of Jordan:
bid my anxious fears subside;
death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee
I will ever give to thee.

William Williams (1717–1791)
translated by Peter Williams (1727–1796)


Blessing

We step out into a world,
where the weeds of evil will try to choke out our life and light –
Lord, step out with us.
Amongst the confusion, amongst the fear, amongst the isolation,
show us how to build a world in which love reigns.
Amen.

Tom Baker


[1] Prayer by Emma Dobson

[2] Taken from Matthew for Everyone – by Tom Wright

[3] Matthew 28:18-20 – The Message by Eugene H Peterson