Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on this Seventh Sunday after Trinity. Thank you to Sara Mann for leading the intercessions. The theme of the service is: the depths of Christ’s incredible love for us.
HYMN: Praise my soul the king of heaven
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
And also with you.
Prayer of Preparation
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.
Prayers of Penitence
My brothers and sisters,
as we prepare to celebrate the presence of Christ
in word and sacrament,
let us call to mind and confess our sins.
You raise the dead to life in the Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
You bring pardon and peace to the broken in heart.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
You make one by your Spirit the torn and divided.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.
Glory to God
Enjoy this Gloria
(only available on the video)
New Testament Reading: Romans 8:26-39.
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.
HYMN: O love that wilt not let me go.
Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord.
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; 32 it 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.’
33 He 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.’
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; 46 on 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; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and 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.’ 52 And 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.’
This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
We are more than conquerors. Romans 8
I was really impressed last week when my sister-in-law told me she had recently bought a wetsuit so she could join in the summer fun with the family in the chilly waters of the British coast. I thought she was brave, given that she is not a lot younger than me, because a wetsuit is not a flattering garment! I don’t think I’m that brave. A wetsuit has to be skin tight otherwise it doesn’t do its job, protecting the body from the cold.
Reading this last excerpt from the three we have looked at from Romans 8, I was struck by what a tight fit it was to our present chilly circumstances and how it offered a much needed protective layer to us as we swim through the turbulent seas in which we have found ourselves during 2020. This is St Paul writing at his best with assurances and words to keep our blood pumping and our faith intact.
Over the last few years, the world has become a tough and troubling place and incredibly the impact of the pandemic is only part of the picture. The events of 2020 have highlighted the picture. To name just a few of the crises that we face: – not only Covid, but also the deteriorating relationship of humanity with the world it inhabits – which is implicated in the emergence of coronaviruses. Related to that is the pressing need and political will to address the issues of climate change.
Then consider the issues of injustice and inequality – the way in which the coronavirus has impacted the poorest, the overcrowded, the people with least access to medical help, the excluded and the minorities. The deep shout for recognition and the end to racial discrimination which has impelled the black lives matter movement.
Then look to the ongoing Syrian crisis, the destruction of a land and a culture and the thousands of displaced Syrian people. Remember the famine in Yemen and the deliberate starvation of a people, the plight of other persecuted peoples – the Rohingya refugees and the Uighur people in China. The continuing numbers of people who are seeking asylum right across the world- the refugee crisis.
And on top of all of this the worst infestation of locusts across North Africa for a generation, the economic hardship that will bring – and indeed the economic struggles everywhere in the aftermath of Covid.
So, when St Paul writes ‘Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril or sword?’ The question is apt, is fits us right now – exactly – like a glove, like a tight wet suit. This is where we are, this is where our world is. And then Paul quotes from Psalm 44 (verse 22).
‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’
This has always sat uneasily with me, none of us want to see ourselves as so vulnerable – and yet this surely must be the unanswered cry of millions who find themselves powerless today. Exposed in the face of peril and seemingly of no account. Whether they are Christians or people of another faith or none – they are all God’s people, and we are called to stand alongside those who suffer.
The difference is in where we stand. As followers of Christ – we stand within the incredible depths of the love of Christ and we can trust in the purposes of God for all God’s people. And that is why Paul asserts that we are ‘more than conquerors’ through him who loved us. There are people who bear suffering, who endure pain in incredible ways, who are stoic in a remarkable way and we can admire their stoicism as they conquer their suffering – the expression is – what can’t be cured must be endured. But Paul says there is there is another dimension to our own forbearance – and it is in the example of Christ and the knowledge of his presence with us.
For we have we have a Lord and saviour who suffered too. Who suffered in his body on the cross but who also in his suffering bore the pains, betrayals, agonies, whatever they might be, of all – the whole world, past, present and future. That is the point of the cross and this is the amazing nature of the love that Jesus has for us. We also name Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us. We follow one who came to us and lived among us, who knows the struggle and the trouble of what it means to be human – who has walked our troubled way for himself. Because Jesus wasn’t just present to humanity in the brief time he lived on earth, but as the risen Christ is also present with us now. Present through his Spirit which dwells within us.
This is why we are more than conquerors. For we believe in a suffering God and a sacrificing God, God in Christ in solidarity with the humanity and the rest of creation right now, today – but this is not just about empathy – this is also about hope. Understanding that in the depths there is yet hope because of the fierce, compassionate love that Christ has for us and because redemption is the pattern of God and the purpose of God. God will redeem. His purpose is reconciliation, new life and ‘the glory about to be revealed to us.’ Verse 18.
This is where we stand – in all the difficulties of our existence, and the struggles of our world.
– in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8: 37-39
And if this doesn’t feel real to us then we can go back to the first point that Paul makes in this passage when he writes – the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. Of course, we don’t – when faced with our current troubles – but then as we pray the Spirit will pray for us – with sighs too deep for words. What we cannot bear before God – the Spirit will express for us – from the deep places of who we are. And it is the Spirit who will teach us in those deep places that whatever befalls us we are held in the tight fit, the protective fit of the love of Christ.
Let us pray.
Loving God – we cry to you for the brokenness of our world and for its suffering people. Help us to stand in our prayers with those who struggle, confident and assured of the incredible depths of the love of Christ.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession led by Sara Mann
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
Enjoy this traditional gospel song sung by the King Singers:
“Down in the river to pray“
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
We belong to him through faith,
heirs of the promise of the Spirit of peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you.
Although we’re apart let us hold one another in the peace of Christ in a moment of prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our saviour has taught us
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that 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.
The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
HYMN: How great thou art
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God.
BACS Details for St Mary’s, Ketton
Barclays Bank Stamford
The account is in the name of Ketton Parochial Church Council
Sort code 20-81-20
Account number 60547522
BACS Details for All Saints, Tinwell
The account is in the name: Tinwell Parochial Church Council
Sort code: 20-81-20
Account number: 70875244
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel