6th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to our online service of Holy Communion for the 6th Sunday of Trinity.

In order to help with the setting at home, find somewhere unlikely to experience interruptions for the next 30 minutes. Light a candle, or a set a small lamp on a stand, something that brings to mind the idea of light shining in the world.

You may want to get a small piece of bread for later in the service… In St James’ (11:15am) and St Bartholomew’s (9:15am) we will be receiving communion in one kind only. At home, taking a small piece of bread and giving thanks to God for his goodness, eating it and knowing that there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God is perfectly acceptable. Eat: knowing that even in the wilderness, God fed his chosen people by sending manna from heaven.

Paul France reads the Bible and Collect Prayer

The Bible is read for us today by Paul France and if you would like to read along they are here following this link, or you may prefer a different version in your own Bible: Genesis 28:10–19a and Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

Holy Communion

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you


Let us pray,
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.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Amen. Lord, have mercy

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life. Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

We say together…
Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.

Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Gloria in Excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.


Let us pray:
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.

The Bible is read for us today by Paul France and if you would like to read along they are here following this link, or you may prefer a different version in your own Bible: Genesis 28:10–19a and Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43

Sermon for the 6th Sunday after Trinity

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field… This is the beginning of a parable which Jesus uses to talk about the Kingdom of Heaven and what it is like. Jesus uses a lot of different images to describe the Kingdom of Heaven, but here the image is one of something happening, something dynamic, something that is changing over time. The Kingdom of Heaven, in this parable, starts with the sowing of the good seed. Much like the act of creativity which goes back to the Genesis stories, in which God’s creativity is celebrated as good. There is nothing “in the beginning” which God looked at and said, “oops”. God creates and that creation is declared good.

The Kingdom of Heaven then gets complicated… “but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away”. We have the goodness of creation and then we have, in the Kingdom of Heaven, all the unpleasantness of a complicated life. All the sources of corruption, mixed together with the goodness that God created.

If someone came along and messed up your work, sowed weeds in your beautiful garden, or corrupted your good creation – what would you do? I know I would be seriously considering starting all over again. Scrap the painting, plough the garden, smash the pottery, pull down the walls and rebuild from the ground up. Isn’t that just what the servants of the householder suggest… let’s try pulling these weeds out and sorting out the master’s garden…

But the Kingdom of Heaven is not like that.

Jesus talks about the Kingdom of Heaven being like a field with good seed and weeds growing alongside each other – that the householder doesn’t want to pull up the weeds because the damage to the good seed would be too great – the risk of losing even one is not worth it. We know that life is complicated and hard, we know that there are joys of goodness in creation, and we give thanks for them. We know that there are bad things which happen to good people – but what is interesting about the Kingdom of Heaven is that God doesn’t want to lose a single one for the sake of pulling up the weeds. It is this perhaps the answer to the question, why does God let bad things happen. Because the wheat and the weeds grow up together and the householder says, “in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 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”

What I noticed about this parable was that the Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t the end result – the bit where Jesus says, “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”… because if that was the Kingdom of Heaven, then there would be no need for the rest of the parable… imagine, Jesus disciples’ are asking about the Kingdom of Heaven, and imagine Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is a place where the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father”. End of story. The interpretation of this would be simple. When you die you go to heaven and all will be shiny and bright… a bit like a yoghurt commercial.

But that is not what Jesus said, Jesus told a whole parable which started with the sowing of good seed and then the corruption of the goodness by an enemy. This sounds so much like the creation story… God creates and then an enemy tries to spoil it.

If the story of the Kingdom of Heaven is an ongoing process from the sowing of the seed to the gathering of the harvest, then the Kingdom of Heaven is like essentially everything there ever was and ever will be, from the moment of creation to the apocalyptic moment of Jesus’ return. The Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of God, and here we are – mixed into this messiness of the good seed and the weeds… surrounded by love and by hate. By sacrifice and by greed. By generosity and by selfishness. All mixed together – but God has not stopped being God and God’s creation has not stopped being God’s creation.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Here. Here it is. There it is. Here you are. There we go. From our going out to our coming in… we are living in the Kingdom of Heaven and we are between the sowing of the good seed and the harvest. If we see the Kingdom of Heaven as here and now, around us every day, if we see ourselves as immersed in the Kingdom of Heaven, does that change the way we see life and death?

If God is in charge, does it change the way we behave, the way we speak and act?

Jacob, dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. In this image, the Kingdom of Heaven and earth are connected. There is a link. Angels from heaven come to earth and return to heaven in a constant stream – and doing what? Surely not just going round in circles for fun, surely not a day trip to the zoo to see the animals… much more an image of the Kingdom of Heaven and our life being connected.

That connection is found most profoundly in prayer. The ability of every human to speak to God – to intentionally take time out of our day to ask God for help, to thank God for something good, to cry with God when a loved one dies, to laugh with God at the joy of new birth, to feel God’s presence in the blessing of bread and wine, to know that God defends the widow and the orphan, to know that God declares the poor are blessed.

As with much of the Bible, I discover God’s love more deeply and profoundly every time I sit and pray – opening myself and my hopes, fears and dreams up to God.

As we look at the life of the church today, and we dream about a growth in the number of people who come to church – the most powerful thing we can do is remember that we are surrounded by God’s good creation – all of humanity was created in God’s image and is loved – and that if we pray, we are taking part in the process of the Kingdom of Heaven growing here, now, all around us.

The Kingdom of Heaven is happening all around us. The angels are ascending and descending all around us. Come. Join in.

When you are afraid: pray
When you are happy: pray
When you look around and all you can see are weeds: pray


The Nicene 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.

Prayers of Intercession

We hold before God the very real worries we have for those who are ill, with whatever condition, in mind body or spirit. We give thanks for all those who have dedicated themselves to helping others, and we remember those who we love but no longer see. If it will help, light a candle to represent our prayers, to shine a light in the world: a light of hope and not despair. A light to witness before God that we know we are not alone, those we love are not alone, and that we know God is with them.

You can light a virtual candle here on the Church of England website

The Peace

Peace to you from God our heavenly Father
Peace from his Son Jesus Christ who is our peace
Peace from the Holy Spirit, the life-giver
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you

The Eucharist

Holy Communion
The preparation of the table

The Lord be with you
and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;
in your love you made us for yourself.

When we turned away
you did not reject us,
but came to meet us in your Son.
You embraced us as your children
and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life
that we might live in him and he in us.
He opened his arms of love upon the cross
and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,
at supper with his friends
he took bread, and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to them, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,
he gave you thanks, and said:
Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;
do this in remembrance of me.
Father, we do this in remembrance of him:
his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,
send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine
may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.
As we eat and drink these holy gifts
make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world
we offer you this sacrifice of praise
and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven, saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Lord’s Prayer

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.

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
grant us peace.

God’s holy gifts
for God’s holy people.
Jesus Christ is holy,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

If you would like to eat a little bread at this point; reflect on the everlasting love of God, in Christ Jesus

Post Communion Prayer

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.

Almighty God,
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies
to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out
in the power of your Spirit
to live and work
to your praise and glory.

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.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen

© The Archbishops’ Council (2000) Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England (2000) (including the Psalter as published with Common Worship)


Comments are closed.