St. Mary's Church

Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Fifth Sunday after Trinity

11 Jul 2020 • General news

Genesis 25:19-26

The Birth and Youth of Esau and Jacob

19 These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?”[a] So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,the elder shall serve the younger.”

24 When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.[b] Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

Romans 8:1-11

Life in the Spirit

8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit[a] of life in Christ Jesus has set you[b] free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.[d] 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit[e] set their minds on the things of the Spirit.[f] 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit[g] is life and peace. 7 For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit,[h] since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit[i] is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ[j] from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through[k] his Spirit that dwells in you.

Matthew 13

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6 But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 Let anyone with ears[a] listen!”

The Parable of the Sower Explained

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.[c] 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23 But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Sermon Thoughts (Lorraine Baker)

I love my garden at this time of the year. It is filled with colour – greens and pink; purple and yellow, but as fast as the plants I want grow, so do the ones I haven’t chosen to be in my garden – the weeds…

It was this reflection as I stood in my kitchen window last Sunday that started my ponderings on today’s Gospel reading about the farmer going out to sow seed.

My garden has really benefitted from the lockdown. I was furloughed for 8 weeks which afforded me time I don’t usually have to spend weeding and planting and just sitting in my garden appreciating being outside in the sunshine instead of being in a nine storey office block flooded with artificial light.

My garden, even after 15 weeks of lockdown is far from perfect as anyone would notice if they walk past the house, but it is, like we each are, a work in progress.

I have grand ideas and dreams for my garden, but these things take time, and now I am back working – albeit from home – not to mention home schooling the boys, my time to spend outside has been greatly reduced.

The sower in our Gospel passage this morning, may too, have had grand ideas. As he walked along, scattering the seed from his hand, was he dreaming of a good and plentiful harvest – perhaps even imagining that he would need to hire additional help to bring in the produce at harvest time or to build a new and larger barn to store it all in?

But not all the grain fell in the good and fertile soil where it produced thirty or sixty or a hundred times what was sown. Some of the grain fell on rocky ground where it struggled to take root and so withered in the sun. Some of the seed fell among thorns, where the other plants smothered it, depriving the growing seedlings of light and water; and yet more fell along the path and was eaten up by the birds looking for food.

This time of lockdown has put all sorts of pressures and expectations on us, that at Christmas we could never have imagined. One of the things that has kept me going, especially during the early weeks of lockdown, when I was struggling to adjust to the changing situation was reading and re-reading the psalms. The mix of lament and praise gave me a structured opportunity to both express to God my frustration – but also to offer him my grateful thanks for being a source of strength and support no matter what I was going through.

It would have been all too easy for my faith to have weakened; for the stress and struggle of lockdown to have choked my relationship with God, just as the weeds choked the young seed depriving them of the life nourishing light and water. I found though, that maintaining my daily prayer routine; watching other church services on Facebook and Youtube; reading prayerfully the sermon thoughts and intercessions provided by members of St Mary’s week by week have helped me to keep encouraged and trusting in God.

As we are now entering the next phase of lockdown with the hopes of haircuts and trips to see family on the horizon, there may well be setbacks; we may struggle to adapt again to another new “normal”. Even with the lessening of restrictions, going shopping or worshipping in church are going to be very different to what we have known in the past and my prayer for us all, is that we can remain trusting and confident in God to protect and strengthen us whatever the future may hold.

We might all feel at times, like a work in progress, but we are loved and cared for by God and called to follow him at all times, and we can be assured that he will weep with us as we weep, and rejoice as we are filled with joy.


Prayers of intercession

Bless the Church Lord, that she may be fruitful in good works. At this time of reduced lockdown may the church be able to respond o the needs of your people. We thank you for the growth of online services but pray for those unable to access such services. May your word of truth not wither away, but grow into a rich harvest.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Come Lord to the stony place of our world, where the life of flesh prevails over the life of the spirit, and bring your peace. At this time we pray for those who are continuing to shield themselves from the virus and may fell themselves cut off from the life of the world.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

May our families and friends, our neighbours and colleagues receive the grace of the Spirit, to be rich in good works and sure faith.We pray for those who are struggling with their mental health at this time; may they find strength to overcome the anxieties they are having to deal with.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Have mercy Lord on those who are oppressed by care and have lost the way that they once knew. May you bring us all back to the ways of love even if this means that we have to adapt to our new ways of being. Be with us there in our struggles.

Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Through the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead give life to those who have died to this world. We especially remember with thanksgiving the lives of Les Dakin who gave so much of himself to our congregation and also of Peter Pringle, Linda Hodgkiss’ son-in-law. We pray for Betty and David as well as Tracey.

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