7th Sunday after Trinity

Welcome to our online service of Holy Communion, we hope you find this accessible. If there are any difficulties worshipping in this format, but you value the ability to join an online community, we would love to know what could be improved.

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 Bartholomew’s (9:15am) and St James (11:15am) 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.

Ali Baxter, and friends, read the Bible and prayers today

The Bible is read for us today by Ali Baxter 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 29:15–28 and Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52

Holy Communion

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

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Preparation

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

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.
Amen

Collect

Let us pray:
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.

The Bible is read for us today by Ali Baxter 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 29:15–28 and Matthew 13:31–33, 44–52

Sermon for the 7th Sunday after Trinity

Our Old Testament reading is the ongoing soap-opera of the story of God’s people and the way humanity continues to betray each other. Today we hear how Jacob, the younger brother who tricked his older brother out of his birth-right for a bowl of red lentil stew…. This Jacob, is now tricked out of his love for the younger sister and the older sister is given in marriage instead. Laban betrays Jacob, who loves Rachel. Laban betrays his own daughters, Rachel and Leah. Leah gets no say in marrying a man who doesn’t love her… and therefore we have a second marriage: a marriage which is one of love not convenience.

Leah didn’t deserve to be betrayed. Rachel didn’t deserve to be betrayed.

Jacob is a man of deceit and it is likely that Laban may have been punishing Jacob for betraying his brother…

Two weeks ago, I shared with you that the Christian life is one in which God does the work. It was a message of learning to rest. That the good news is that God’s call upon our lives is easy, not hard. In my personal experience it takes a long time to learn to trust that God is at work around us. Last week, I shared that the Kingdom of Heaven is a process. The weeds and the wheat grow up together so that not one of God’s little ones is lost. This week, Jesus floods us with different images of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Which one do you like the most?

  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed – such a small thing – almost inconsequential… and yet it becomes a resting place for everyone who is passing.
  • The kingdom of Heaven is like the little bit of yeast, which when mixed with a much larger quantity changes the whole lot into something new.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure buried in a field – sell everything you have and go buy the field!
  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a precious thing, so unbelievably precious that a businessperson would sell everything they have to get it.
  • The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net thrown into the sea – it drags everything, from fish to sea monsters to discarded bits of plastic… and the good is kept, and what is not good is disposed of.

Have you understood?

What image works best for you?

The Kingdom of Heaven like a mustard seed which grows into a tree that the birds of the air can rest in. The Vicarage is next to woodland and we get more diversity of birds than I have ever seen anywhere else – I had never seen a Jay before I came here – and to see a Woodpecker in my back garden is awesome! They look so free. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a place where people who are completely free and unworried can momentarily find peace and the love of God. Wow! What an amazing place the Kingdom of Heaven is. Imagine if all the people of Slaithwaite and Marsden knew that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. What do you think it would mean to them? Can you imagine our church, like a tree full of birds – coming and going. Unafraid. Free. Trusting in God.

The Kingdom of Heaven like yeast. Such a small amount transforms the whole batch. What an amazing image – especially because we are so few people. There are thousands of people in our communities – and sometimes we can feel so small. But if our faith is like yeast… just imagine what the Colne Valley would look like as God’s joy, love, peace, generosity and graciousness spreads throughout all the homes and businesses. Can you imagine what this church would look like if we tried to fit everyone in every week – all the people living set free from the fear of death by the love of God and wanting to sing God’s praises at the top of their lungs! Yeast does not have to work hard to spread to the batch – all that happens is the yeast is mixed and the dough is changed. God will mix us.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like buried treasure – sell everything and buy the whole field in the hope of finding it. Is the Kingdom of Heaven precious to you? How much would you want the Kingdom of Heaven – how much would you give to have the Kingdom of Heaven… and yet: it is a free gift from God. We are living in it, now, something of so much value, available to us every day. We are so rich, rich beyond our wildest dreams – all the resources of the Kingdom of Heaven are available to us. We are Children of God, and we have inherited the field. We didn’t have to buy it. It’s amazing!

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a wise and successful businessperson who finds a pearl for sale and recklessly, foolishly, dangerously, sells absolutely everything to buy it. Can you image the Kingdom of Heaven on Dragons Den? With the wily investors each throwing all their money at the Kingdom of Heaven to buy it – but even better news – they can each have it… if I gave everything for the Kingdom of Heaven, you would still have the Kingdom of Heaven as a free gift from God. God’s gifts are bigger than any one of us.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a net thrown into the sea. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a fragile thing to be kept hidden away, to be kept from damage, to be kept secret – the Kingdom of Heaven is bigger than any of us – more robust than we can possibly image… like a fishing net so big and so strong that as it is thrown into the sea it drags everything with it. The good and the bad. Nothing tears the net, nothing escapes the net – it is thrown so wide and so far that everyone is brought into the Kingdom of Heaven… nothing is lost. What gets thrown out? The junk, the rubbish… but all the good in the world is saved for the Kingdom of Heaven – just like last week’s wheat and weeds… life’s good and life’s bad alongside each other. And at the end, nothing good is ever lost.

Rachel and Leah’s love are betrayed by their father Laban – but if you read on – their cries of injustice are heard by God. First Jacob, then Laban, are deceitful. But in the Kingdom of Heaven the good and the bad are drawn together – nothing is lost – and there is transformation. Like yeast changing the whole batch. So, spoiler alert: God hears Rachel and Leah’s cries for justice – and answers their prayers.

So to conclude – when you look around at the world full of injustice – remember that God is bigger than injustice. Remember that God hears the cries of those who have been hurt and answers their prayer. Remember that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand – the freedom, the small batch of yeast which transforms everything – the Kingdom of Heaven is more valuable than you can possibly imagine and yet God gives the gift freely.

The Kingdom of Heaven is all around you.

May God pour out his blessings upon you. Fill your cup with good things. Heal your hurts. Bring joy into your hearts and minds – and may the blessings that God pours into you, overflow into the world around you. May God bring you peace. May God bring you forgiveness. May God bring you joy. May all the riches of the Kingdom of Heaven be yours and shared with all those who you meet.

Amen.

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.
Amen

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.
Amen.

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

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

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.
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.

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)

4 Comments

  1. Some really exciting imagery arising from all those different images of the kingdom of heaven!

  2. The Kingdom of Heaven – what an amazing gift !!
    Feeling very blessed and uplifted after hearing this .
    Thank you 🙏🏼

  3. Amen! Thanks Graeme. So love your sermons! What you have said fits with my prayers for Slaithwaite and Marsden!
    I have known a church which grew from small beginnings – 5 elderly ladies – grow to a congregation of 150 + each Sunday. It was in London so people did move on – 3 couples to the mission field, 2 couples to set up new churches, A church involved in fighting for justice for known individuals, being an outreach centre for mental health services and involved in a joint churches training skills for employment etc. From a small mustard seed have come many amazing works.
    The kingdom of heaven being around us now is a good reminder to have and fits in so well with some of my personal thoughts on how to move on from previous stresses and enjoy the life I have now. God bless you.

Comments are closed.