Sunday 19 July Trinity 6

This Sunday we will be celebrating a short service of said Holy Communion at All Saints Church at 9.30am with Revd Caroline Husband and Revd Rebecca Harris.
Please arrive in plenty of time to accommodate the safety measures in place.

There will be a Cafe Church style service of worship led by Susan Bell and Revd Melanie Otto on Zoom.
Contact us for information on how to join the service.

Collect for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

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.

Isaiah 44: 6-8

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
    and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
I am the first and I am the last;
    besides me there is no god.
Who is like me? Let them proclaim it,
    let them declare and set it forth before me.
Who has announced from of old the things to come?
    Let them tell us what is yet to be.
Do not fear, or be afraid;
    have I not told you from of old and declared it?
    You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
    There is no other rock; I know not one.

 CC0 Public Domain

Psalm 86

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
    for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and bow down before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name for ever.
13 For great is your steadfast love towards me;
    you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

14 O God, the insolent rise up against me;
    a band of ruffians seeks my life,
    and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant;
    save the child of your serving-maid.
17 Show me a sign of your favour,
    so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Romans 8: 12-25

12 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 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.

Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

24 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.”’

36 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!

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reflection for 6th Sunday after Trinity

ISAIAH 44:6-8

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. (Psalm 18:2)

Last Sunday, at Café Church, we were invited to write a “tweet” (that is a piece of writing no more than 180 characters) in which we described God in a prayer. We had a huge variety of contributions, as many as there were present. In the passage from Isaiah, we have some more: he is the LORD … the King of Israel … Redeemer … the Lord of hosts; the first and the last … the only God … and a rock.

For the last few years, a group from my previous parishes went to Lee Abbey on a weekend retreat. To get to Lee Abbey you have to go through the valley of the rocks. It is a stunning and wild landscape, with high cliffs where wild goats live. There is a beautiful walk along the coast-line looking down on the sea from a great height.  One day, I remember sitting in the octagonal lounge during one of the sessions and was gazing out of the window at the cliff or rock outside. At the time, I was contemplating the prospect of change in my life, in terms of leaving my previous post and wondering where God was calling me to next. When we ponder the future, it can make us feel excitement, anticipation, wonder, or fear, dread, uncertainty and anxiety.

I guess many of these feelings have been coming to fore over the last few months. The pandemic has turned our world upside down. We may have enjoyed the less frantic pace, the time to reflect and catch up with all those jobs around the house and garden. Or we may have been bored, frustrated, lonely and worried about what all this is going to mean for our lives.

Just as the Israelites faced a difficult time when these verses were written, when they were in exile in a foreign country and didn’t know when they’d be able to return to the promised land, so do we. These times have been described as an exile for the Christian church, with our doors locked for so long and not being able to meet together as we have been used to. But throughout all this, God is constant. He is still there for us. He is solid, dependable and faithful. He will never leave us. He always loves us. As we put our faith and trust in God, we do not need to be afraid or anxious, because he is with us, holding us firm.

May we hold firm to God who is our rock and our Redeemer through these challenging times. May our faith continue to uphold and sustain us now and in the time ahead.

Rev’d Rebecca Harris, Team Rector