Rev Olwen Woolcock

Sixth Sunday after Trinity 19th July 2020

Sixth Sunday after Trinity 19th July 2020

Sixth Sunday after Trinity 19th July 2020

[* Featured Image: ‘Evening Light at Edith Weston, Rutland Water’ by Gillian Durno, a professional artist and member of the congregation]

Click the play button above to view the whole service. The transcript is shown below.

Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on this Sixth Sunday after Trinity. Thank you to Peter Bisseker who does the reading. The theme of the service is: Living in hope.

Our first hymn has an introduction with Aled Jones meeting the creatures at Chester Zoo, but I have left it in because it fits with the theme of the service. 

HYMN: All creatures of our God and King

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
And also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

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.

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.

Confession

We confess to you
our lack of care for the world you have given us.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you
our selfishness in not sharing the earth’s bounty fairly.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

We confess to you
our failure to protect resources for others.
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

The Collect

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 for ever.
Amen

New Testament Reading: Romans 8:12-25,
read by Peter Bisseker

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness[c] with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

HYMN: Father God I wonder

Gospel Reading

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord.

 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; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 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?” 28 He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” 29 But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 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.’ 37 He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

You will have realised that I have managed to get a hairdressing appointment at long last! I sent before and after photos to my family! What a relief. It seemed like a long time coming. I had no idea how much one could long for a haircut! Though of course I realise we live in a privileged culture where we take such a way of life where we can choose hairstyles and clothes for granted. I’m still pleased though!

Longing is a key word when we start to think about and talk about the lockdown and the effects of the pandemic on our lives. Longing to get out, longing to see someone and have a chat, longing to go for a coffee or a drink, longing to have a mooch around the shops, longing for the children to get back to school, longing for variety and interest, longing for the rhythm of life to kick in again, longing to get back to work, longing to get back to church.

Some of those longings are being eased, some people are working again, we can meet the family now, we can meet a friend and go for a coffee or a drink, some of us came to church last week – but of course, none of it is quite as it was , none of it is what we’re used to because we still have to maintain distance or sit in a certain seat or wear a mask and so on. So, the longing continues. When will we be able to feel comfortable again, when will we be able to sing again, when will we be normal? And we are also longing for that which will put everything right – make the world the right way up again and right now that looks like a vaccine – our everyday talk is of a vaccine; our hopes are of a vaccine.

It is as though we have been living in suspension – and actually we are still living in suspension. Waiting and looking for the restoration to normality. This way of being, this living in suspension, echoes the big picture that Paul paints in the theology he outlines in today’s reading from Romans 8.

The big picture is this.  That we, the people of God are living in one state and longing for another. That creation is living in one state and longing for another – and that that is the way it simply is – until all is redeemed, all is fulfilled in God’s good purpose. That we who know Christ, we who have his Spirit within us, will always be living in suspension – because we know there is more to come, that there is a completeness to come.

Paul writes of humanity living in a time now and looking forward to a future time… I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us!  That it is a sentence which is very much for now. Whatever we are going through now – there is not just normality ahead for us but glory ahead for us. And it is the Spirit within us that will prompt us, stir us to long for it.

For it is the Spirit that teaches us that we are truly children of God, sons like Christ, that God has adopted us as his very own, as his heirs, as entitled to his inheritance. The spirit within us shows us that we are that significant, that we are that important to God. Remember I said that Romans chapter eight was one of those valued passages of scripture that mean a lot to people. Well of the key statements that people value is when Paul writes ‘When we cry Abba! Father! it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.!  Our relationship with our God is as a child with their daddy for abba means daddy- the relationship is that close, that trusting – and when we truly know that – that is the work of the Spirit.  

But then that knowledge causes us to long – a deep earthy longing – Paul describes it as groaning inwardly – a yearning from the depth of who we are, for our adoption, what Paul calls the redemption of our bodies – that is, our whole being, spirit and body, encompassed in God.  This is a hard idea to get our heads around but I imagine it as the inner knowledge that we entirely belong to God and that belonging to God, being in God is our ultimate destiny.

And what is more, Paul explains, is that the world that God made, all that is God’s good creation is also living in a state of suspension. Creation is not as God intended it to be, it is broken, it is exploited, it is poached, it is destructive even within itself and so he asserts that creation also desires to be made whole and healed and redeemed too.  Paul describes the eager longing of the whole of creation for the revealing of the children of God, the longing of creation to be set free from the bondage of decay – a longing so intense it is like the labour pains of a woman. Do you remember that song we used to sing with the children – And all creation’s straining on tip toe just to see the children of God come into their own.

So, it would seem that our redemption and the restoration of creation are intertwined. We suffer and creation suffers as we await together the fulness of what will be. This is how it is described in an academic commentary – James Dunn names the solidarity among Christ, humans, and the rest of creation when he observes, “Believers are being saved not from creation but with creation…. The sonship they are privileged to share in some sense with Christ, they in turn share in some sense with creation.”

And in many ways the experience of lockdown and the reduced pollution and traffic noise revealed to us all kinds of ways that creation is impaired because of the way we live. We saw it briefly find its feet again. I was listening to Chris Packham talk about insects and butterflies and bees thriving because scents from flowers have been stronger and not drowned out by fumes and pollution. Birds more readily mating because they can hear one another’s birdcall that’s not drowned out by noise.   As the children of God come into the fulness of who they properly are then creation will be properly tended.

The point is that this lockdown feeling – this sense that things aren’t quite right, that we still have some way to go to get everything back to how it should be – is actually what we, who are in Christ Jesus and who have been given his Spirit, should be feeling all the time. We should be yearning and praying for the wholeness that God promises. The way that things should actually be – in God’s purpose.

We are called to live in a state of longing – craning our necks to see, watching in eager expectation for what God will do.  So, at the moment we are getting some practice.

But to long means to hope and that is the other activity of God’s Spirit working within us. We talked last week about how the Spirit sets people free and how the Spirit gives life. The Spirit also gives hope.  Hope for the future as well as the present. I expect you have heard these famous words which Julian of Norwich heard in a vision: Jesus said to her ‘It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ This is the hope of the Spirit – that despite the wretchedness in the world all around us – all shall be well; all shall be saved. The Spirit at work today is the sign that it will be so – the hope.

We are called to live in a state of longing and with God’s hope within us stirred up by the Spirit. To do so is to face the onslaught of the present moment, not in despair, not in fed-up ness, not with our fingers crossed for a vaccine but walking out our lives in hope and with belief in the redemption that God has promised. 

Let us pray

Loving God in the moments when we wonder how this will all end help us to stand firm in the hope you have given us, with holy longing in our hearts – trusting in your love for us and for the whole world – that you will make all whole.  

The Creed

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

Lord, you are working your purpose out. Give us, we pray, a deep sense of the way your providence unfolds, its ebb and its flow. Take from us all sense of urgency or haste, keeping us conscious that our timescale is not the same as the timescale of eternity. You, who are the keeper of celestial time, help us attune ourselves to the pulse of your grace and the season of your spirit, rather than our own impatient desires and plans for the universe. Reconcile us to the present moment, and the slow but certain dawning of your future.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We pray for those across our world who have authority and those who have knowledge that you will guide them to seek the best way forward for us all as we are affected by the pandemic. We pray for government leaders, scientists, economists, we pray for wisdom and charity and good intentions and political will.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Through your grace, we each have individual experience of the working of the Holy Spirit: help us to see the spirit working among us collectively as the Body of Christ at this time when we are struggling to meet together and have only just begun again to worship in church. Prepare us for what lies ahead over the next few months and we seek to fully open the churches again. Help us to discern your mission in the coming months.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Lord of life, we ask for a gift we never want to need: the gift of courage. We pray for it for ourselves, as we look towards an unknown future. We pray for those who will need it this day, those who face the prospect of physical or mental pain.  Give us eyes to see beauty, dignity and grace in the bravery of others. Bless us with courage as we all go forward seeking to build life and give hope even as the impact of the Covid pandemic continues.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We thank you for the beauty of this world and all that you give to us. Lord, give us ears to hear, wills to listen, and minds to comprehend the message of immortality for the children of your kingdom, that we may look forward with patient confidence to entering at the last into your glorious liberty.

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

HYMN: I the Lord of sea and sky

The Peace

May the God of peace make you perfect and holy,
that you may be kept safe and blameless
in spirit, soul and body,
for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

Let us remember one another, and pray for one another, in the peace of Christ.

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.  
Amen

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Blessing
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.
Amen

HYMN: Spirit of God, breathe on me now

Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, in the name of Christ. Amen
Thanks be to God.


Bach BWV 559  Prelude and Fugue in A minor


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
Barclays Bank
The account is in the name: Tinwell Parochial Church Council
Sort code: 20-81-20
Account number: 70875244

One thought on “Sixth Sunday after Trinity 19th July 2020

  1. Emma Smith

    I have just listened to the service while walking the Wheat fields after a rubbish day at work. One of my favourite Hymns, I the Lord, Sea & Sky lifted my heart. What a wonderful service Olwen. Thank you
    Ps loved the last Hymn, it put a spring in my step!

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