Opening Prayers

 

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

Lord of all power and might,

the author and giver of all good things:

graft in our hearts the love of your name,

increase in us true religion,

nourish us with all goodness,

and of your great mercy keep us in the same;

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 for ever.

Amen

 

Readings

Genesis 29.15-28

Read by Jocelyn Esien

 

Romans 8.26-39

Read by Beniece Oddoye

 

Gospel Reading

Matthew 13.31-33, 44-52

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

Hymns

 

Father, hear the prayer we offer
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

 

 

God be in my head,
and in my understanding;

God be in mine eyes,
and in my looking;

God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;

God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;

God be at mine end,
and at my departing.

 

 

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:
Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [Refrain]

 

Reflection

Rev’d Julia Porter-Pryce

mustardseed1

 

Jesus said: The Kingdom of God is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes out and sells all that he has and buys that field.

What is the most valuable thing you possess – health, family, skills? Can you imagine selling/giving up your most valuable possessions? How could there be anything more precious?

The Kingdom of God is the main theme in the teaching of Jesus in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke (those we call the synoptic gospels). There are over 50 sayings and parables of Jesus in the gospels about the Kingdom of God. How many can you think of? We’ve heard quite a few this morning: a mustard seed, yeast, treasure hidden in a field, a pearl of great value, a net full of fish…

The Hebrew words for ‘king’ and ‘kingdom’ were about power rather than territory. So the Kingdom of God is a force not a place. When Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God he was building on Jewish teaching of earlier times. Through his own life and work the Kingdom of God was no longer something that would come about in the far distant future. Anybody who chose to submit to the power of God could enter the Kingdom of Heaven right here, right now, in this life.

The sayings and parables that Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of God often involved images of growth or change. He made it clear that the Kingdom of God was beyond our usual understanding of time and place. The Kingdom of God has come and is still to come. The power of God is at work in our past, our present and our future.

And this power can be seen hidden in unexpected places, in places we would never think of looking, often in the most familiar of everyday activities: sowing seeds, baking bread, catching fish. While we go about our daily life, God is at work deep within every one of us, in everything that we do, in every encounter, in every relationship.

God is at work continually, creating humanity, totally transforming the world. And every time we recognise God’s power at work around us and within us, the Kingdom of God is glimpsed,  and the Kingdom of God breaks through.

 

 

Intercessions

from Joe Kohler

Crucifix

We pray for our church, and everyone in our community who gives so much to make it a happier, friendlier place.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, we take heart from the evidence that suggests that the Covid-19 crisis is waning in this country. However, we think of those elsewhere in the world that are experiencing its ravages, both direct and indirect. We pray for those providing care and support to all victims of Covid-19.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our leaders, that they may make wise decisions based on principles of equality and fairness.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

We thank you for holidays. We enjoy the opportunities they give for adventures, for recharging batteries and for time away from our usual responsibilities.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for the sick and for those who are worried about the sickness of people that they love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer

Lord, in your mercy hear our prayers now and listen for those we will utter up in the coming weeks and years.

Amen

 

Closing Prayers

Nature ascension

 

Lord God, whose Son is the true vine and the source of life,

Ever giving himself that the world may live:

May we so receive within ourselves

The power of his death and passion

That, in his saving cup,

We may share his glory and be made perfect in his love;

For he is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

AMEN

 

 

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