Sunday Service for 12th July 2020 Trinity 6

Trinity 6

12th July 2020

The Scottish Episcopal Church will this Sunday at 11.00 broadcasting video coverage of its Eucharistic service via its website, social media channels and YouTube channel.  The web page for the broadcast is located at www.scotland.anglican.org/broadcast-sunday-worship The website will also contain a downloadable video and audio format of the service.

SERVICE

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

Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church

is governed and sanctified:

hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,

that in their vocation and ministry

they may serve you in holiness and truth

to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever

Gospel

Matthew 13:1-9

13 That same day Jesus went out of the houseand sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boatand sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The Nicene Creed.

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And of all things visible and invisible:
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God; Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God; Begotten, not made; Being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered was buried: And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures: And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father: And he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, The Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets: And I believe one Catholic and Apostolic Church: I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins: And I look for the Resurrection of the dead: And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

The Sermon

When Boris Johnson won the last General Election, his government was to enjoy a few weeks ‘honeymoon’ The media spared his administration criticism. It was called ‘Boris Bounce’ Since Covid though, the nation’s mood has quickly reverted. The Government now faces daily denunciation from many quarters.

Christ was granted a positive reception at the outset of his ministry: accordingly, he was invited to preach in the Jerusalem Temple and synagogues. There he painted word pictures for his listeners, lilies of the field, salt, and light. Later, the attitude of his hearers altered and opposition sprung up from many quarters. Jesus was no longer welcomed by the establishment. His ministry then became of necessity itinerate. In today’s gospel Christ is found preaching from a boat. His method of instruction also changed. Dispensing with word pictures, he taught instead by parable, an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. This then is the backdrop to one of the best-known parables, that of the sower.

Except that the story is not so much of a sower, but rather the variety of soil found by the sown seed. The sower is anyone who faithfully proclaims Christ’s message.  The seed is the gospel or the good news of the Kingdom. 

In Palestine, fields were formed in long, narrow strips. The ground between them were pathways whose surface was trampled.  The hardness of the soil precluded the seed from penetrating the earth.  This soil represents any hearer with a closed mind.  Prejudice induces blindness.  An unteachable spirit can erect barriers that cannot easily be broken down.  Both pride and fear can close a mind.  There are none so blind as those who deliberately will not see. 

Another kind of soil was the stony ground.  In Palestine, a thin layer of soil on top of an underlying shelf of limestone was common.  On such ground, the seed might germinate rapidly in the sunshine. Then, lacking depth of soil, it would die for want of moisture or nourishment. This is the person who fails to think: here today and gone tomorrow. Many followed Jesus only for what he might give: healings, feedings, or miracles. 

The third type of soil was good but contained thorns and weeds.  Despite best effort, soil is never free of weed, often growing faster than the seed itself. Human life is busy, crowded, and cluttered.  Work is good and essential but can be an intrusion to devotion. Leisure is good and healthy, but that too can become all consuming. Both, often unnoticed, can overcome God’s word.

The fourth type of soil was deep, clean, and soft.  Here the seed gained an entry and found nourishment.  Good ground is willing to hear, learn and to be corrected. It is never too proud nor too busy to listen.  Priorities are in order and the word received readily translated into action and so bearing fruit.  This is the kind of disciple that God requires. As Jesus concluded, “Let anyone with ears, listen.”

A closing thought. Clergy and their congregations often become dispirited, mistakenly believing that through their own inadequacy, little impression is being made on those about them. This parable is a reminder that not everything said or done even with the best of intention will fall on fruitful ground. This is not caused either by fault or shortcoming, but simply reflects a fact of life. It should not though encourage complacency.

Reflection

We reap what we sow.” Good seeds bear good fruit.

Weeding involves careful judgement like most decisions in life

Pruning and trimming, as painful as it seems, works eventually to the good.

Without rains and storms, both in life and in the garden, there will be no growth.

Deep roots are essential to growth.

In gardening, as in life, short-cuts, slipshod efforts, and neglect are readily evident.

Prayer

Jesus, you sow yourself
The Word of Truth, generously
The Word of Life, graciously

Defend us from the Evil One
Who seeks to snatch us away

Fortify us for hard times and costly discipleship
That we may endure

Deliver us from distraction
From worldly desires and
All that would lure us and choke us with false promises

Till us
Turn us
Enrich us with every blessing of your Spirit
That we may be good, good soil
Forever faithful and fruitful for you
Amen

Confession

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, By thought, word, and deed, Against Thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly Thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings: The remembrance of them is grievous unto us; The burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; For Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, Forgive us all that is past; And grant that we may ever hereafter Serve and please Thee In newness of life, To the honour and glory of Thy Name; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Absolution

The Almighty and merciful Lord, grant me pardon and absolution of all my sins. Amen.


The Comfortable Words, Preface. and Sanctus.

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to Him.
Come unto Me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matt. xi. 28.
So God loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii. 16.

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.
This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Tim. i. 15.

Hear also what Saint John saith.
If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the Propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John ii. 1, 2.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Thy glorious Name; evermore praising Thee, and saying,
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, Lord God of hosts, Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Glory be to Thee, O Lord Most High. Amen.

In union, O Lord with the faithful, I desire to offer Thee praise and thanksgiving. I present to Thee my soul and body with the earnest wish that may always be united to Thee. And since I can not now receive Thee sacramentally, I beseech Thee to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to Thee and embrace Thee with all the affections of my soul. Let nothing ever separate Thee from me. May I live and die in Thy love. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Today’s hymn

With today’s recurring theme of nature, an obvious hymn to sing might be ‘All things bright and beautiful’. There is however a delightful anonymous Dutch carol translated by the nineteenth century hymnist G. R. Woodward.

Each verse of the text uses a different flower as its primary image and receives a contrasting musical setting before the celebratory refrain. While this is often sung at Advent and Christmas, there is nothing about the text to limit it to those seasons. The source of the tune remains anonymous, but it was harmonized by Dr Charles Wood. A professor of music both at Cambridge and in London, his pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Listen on You Tube Charles Wood or Rutter

1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.

Refrain:
There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.

2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, Humanity. Refrain

3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marigold, Obedience. Refrain

4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
‘Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain

5. Yet, ‘mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless’d be his Name! Refrain

6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain

Blessing

Jesus the sower
whatever I am today, whatever the mix
of path, rock, thorns, or soil
help me to become good ground
for you, for your word and for your presence and the blessing of God Almight the Father Son and Holy Spirit be with us always

Amen