St. Mary's Church

7th Sunday after Trinity

7th Sunday after Trinity

25 Jul 2020 • General news

Church opening

It is our intention to resume public worship from 2nd August 2020.

We shall hold services of Holy Communion on Sundays at 10am and also on Wednesdays at 10am. Private Prayer will continue after the Wednesday Service from 10.30 until 11am and on Sunday after the service from 10.45am until 11.30am.

Current advice is that people over 70 and those who are extremely vulnerable should not attend but it is your choice. The advice on face coverings changed on Thursday. We are now strongly advised to wear face coverings in Church. Those with children will be responsible for them at all times and we are sorry but we cannot offer Junior Church facilities at the moment.

Worship will be different from what we have been used to. Government advice does not allow us to sing and we are limited in numbers to what St Mary’s can hold with social distancing - between 25 and 30. We shall have to ensure arrangements are in place to maintain public safety and Standing Committee have been through a risk assessment and although we realise that practice over the next couple of weeks will inevitably mean a few tweaks to our plans, we believe we can manage this safely.

To help us, especially for the first week, please let us know beforehand if you are hoping to come. A quick reply to this email will suffice. This is only to give us a rough idea of how to manage the seating and if you don’t respond and then change your mind on Sunday morning please do feel free to come along - we will cope. Try to arrive between 9.50am and 9.58 am but please try to form an orderly queue if there are people gathering around the entrance door. Someone will greet you on arrival and escort you to a seat; you will have to sanitise your hands before entering Church. We have to have a one way system of movement in church which will mean entering through the Church Centre, moving to the front of the Lady Chapel and then to your seats. Exit will be through the old oak door and straight into the churchyard - sadly we are not able to offer refreshments after the service. During the service itself, we shall use the words of the Peace but not be able to share the peace in the normal way (unless we are in a bubble already with someone). Communion will be administered in one kind only, ie only bread. Whoever is presiding will administer the bread in the Chancel area itself. Communicants will be invited to stand, one at a time, at the Chancel arch, move up to receive communion in the Chancel and exit through the arch on the north side of the Chancel. We hope that only one person at a time will stand at the Chancel arch. The wafer will be ‘dropped’ into you hand with no words (the words of distribution will be said for everyone as the distribution begins- this is to avoid droplets from speech falling onto you). Should the priest touch you in error, both will have to sanitise their hands immediately. The priest will have sanitiser to hand but please could you go to one of the stations in church to do so before returning to your seat. Clearly we will endeavour to be extremely careful at this point. At the end of the service we will all leave through the oak door, sanitising our hands as we leave. You will be invited to leave row by row to avoid getting too close to one another. Once church is cleared all seats will be cleansed with an anti-viral spray.

I realise that this is a great deal to take in and seems particularly fussy but we are trying to comply both with the guidelines but more importantly to keep us all safe. We will learn as we go along and there will be people to help at each stage, so don’t worry.

As I write we shall be experimenting with how to give you the words of the Service. If we can, we hope to provide a laminated sheet with the words of the service. This can be left in the filing tray provided by the exit and will be cleaned before its next use. If we can’t manage this we will devise another way. We will not be providing the lessons on a sheet as before but you are welcome either to print the lessons off yourself and bring them or bring your own bible to follow; alternatively you can just listen.

We will not be running a rota for lesson readers but will ask people on arrival if they would be happy to read that day. Again we will cope. The prayers of intercession will be provided by those allocated in the rota though they may not be delivered by the person who has written them. Again someone will be asked to read the provided prayers.

On Wednesdays we anticipate far fewer people but the service will not be in the Lady Chapel but from the main altar to allow enough space. Again please do not arrive too early.

We shall also be keeping a register of all attendees with contact details for 21 days to comply with the track and trace regulations currently in force.


Jacob Marries Laban’s Daughters

15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah’s eyes were lovely,[a] and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. 18 Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22 So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. 23 But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. 24 (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) 25 When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

Romans 8:26–39

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedesq with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God,r who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirits intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.t

28We know that all things work together for goodu for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.v 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Love in Christ Jesus

31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.w 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;

we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 13:31-33

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

The Parable of the Yeast

33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with[a] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Three Parables

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Treasures New and Old

51 “Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” 52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”


In our Gospel reading today, Jesus addresses the question, “What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?” It seems an obvious question; here, after all, is a wandering, homeless preacher, telling all and sundry to prepare for the coming of God’s kingdom. We shouldn’t be surprised that the people ask, “So, what’s it like, then?”

We also shouldn’t be surprised that Jesus doesn’t answer the question directly. The Kingdom of God is beyond human understanding, and the perhaps only way that Jesus can answer the question is through metaphor – by relating what we cannot understand to things that we can. He tells his listeners that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a small seed that grows into a very large plant; that it is a precious treasure hidden in a field; that it is a priceless jewel which people long to possess; that it is a fishing-net which will draw people in from many nations.

When I was reviewing today’s gospel passage, however, there was one image which stuck out to me: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened. ’The more I thought about this one image, the more I discovered something about the Kingdom of Heaven that had never occurred to me before.

Yeast is an essential part of bread-making – unless the yeast is mixed into the dough, the bread will not rise. But then I realized that in the process of baking the bread, the yeast completely disappears. You can take a loaf of bread apart, and you will not find the yeast. You can see what it has done – the loaf has risen, the bread is full of air bubbles – but the yeast itself is invisible. The Kingdom is like that – you can’t see it, you can only see the results. It reminds me of another saying of Jesus, in John’s Gospel: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Those who do the work of Jesus, of God, should be invisible, working in the background, but their work should point always to the coming Kingdom.

Yeast also has another characteristic which is essential in the baking of bread – before it can get to work, it must first be activated. Inactive yeast does not make bread rise. In the same way, if the Kingdom is not active within us, it cannot bring about positive results.

We are called upon to be spiritual yeast in the world: we must be active, yet invisible – and we must each of us become an essential part of the Kingdom.



LORD we know that you hear the prayers of those who call to you in faith. Open our hearts to your love and open our ears to hear your words of comfort; challenge and strength.

We thank you for every person who has helped us on our journey and encouraged us to keep believing when we felt like giving up. Thank you for all those who taught us the faith. Thank you for those who made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to ensure others could hear of your love in Christ.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We hold up to you all those who have died – especially those we miss so much. Give comfort to all those who grieve; surround us with your love and strength. Help us to remember with joy and thanksgiving those we love and see no more.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for those who are ill at this time, in hospital or at home. We give thanks for nurses and doctors and all other healthcare workers in their roles of care and support. We pray for those newly born and those who are close to death.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Bring peace to those nations in conflict and where there is political instability. Protect those who are poor and hungry and give them hope. Move those with plenty, to share with those who have little. Help all people to love their neighbour as themselves.

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

God of life, we give thanks for the love you have shown to the world throughout the centuries. Help us to be faithful in prayer and in worship all the days of our lives.

Merciful Father Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.


Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


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