The Sunday Service in Hagley

The Parishes of Clent and Hagley

 

Worship for 13 June – Trinity 2

 

 

We will be using this service together on Zoom at 11.00 am.

 

 

 

 

Call to worship and Opening Prayer

 

We gather in the name of Jesus -

our Saviour and teacher,
who tells wonderful stories which challenge and intrigue us.
Let us open our ears to hear,
our minds to think
and our hearts to share
the good news of God’s kingdom.
 

 

Creator God,
we bring to you all that is growing within us:
for you to bless and nurture.
 

We bring our prayers for the coming of your kingdom:
for you to bless and nurture.
 

We bring a longing for peace and justice:
for you to bless and nurture.
 

We bring the hopes and dreams, tiny and big,
of all your children around the world:
for you to bless and nurture.
 

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

 

Hymn                     Great is thy faithfulness

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTKIqmdfHSk

 

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been thou forever will be.

          Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
          Morning by morning new mercies I see;
          all I have needed thy hand hath provided;
          great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

 

 

Prayers of praise and thanksgiving

 

God of grace and growth,
you have called us to plant the seeds of your kingdom
in the fields of your world,
and to trust you for their developing and flourishing –
and so we praise you.
 

For the abundance of your creativity:
we praise you.
 

For the transforming nature of your Spirit:
we praise you.
 

For the power of small beginnings:
we praise you.
 

For the mystery of hidden growth:
we praise you.
 

And for the harvest we are invited to delight in:
we praise you.  Amen.

 

 

Generous God,

you made our wonderful world,
with all its colour and growth, its fruits and flourishing.

You share with us
the secrets of the kingdom,
in story and picture and parable.

You surprise us
with tiny things that make a difference
and by the hidden process of growth.
You renew your creation,
giving us a new vision of your world,
and the confidence of faith:
so we give you thanks

and praise your name.  Amen.

 

 

Asking for God’s forgiveness

 

God of all,
you do not force growth but nurture it:
forgive us when we want too much too soon.
 

You do not start big but start small:
forgive us when we want too much too soon.
 

You do not sow greedily but graciously:
forgive us when we want too much too soon.
 

You do not hurry the harvest but hallow it:
forgive us when we want too much too soon.
 

May God forgive us,

and accept the work of our hands,
in Jesus’ name.

Amen.

 

 

A Collect

 

Faithful Creator,
whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you
and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

A New Testament Reading                 2 Corinthians 5. 6-10, 14-17

 

 

Brothers and sisters, we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

 

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

 

 

Hymn                     I am a new creation  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt0u2iwmuEA

                   

I am a new creation,
no more in condemnation,
here in the grace of God I stand.

 

My heart is overflowing,
my love just keeps on growing,
here in the grace of God I stand

 

And I will praise you, Lord,

yes, I will praise you, Lord,
and I will sing of all that you have done.

 

A joy that knows no limit,
a lightness in my spirit,
here in the grace of God I stand.

                                                  repeat all over again!

         

A Gospel Reading            Mark 4.26-34

 

Such a large crowd gathered around Jesus that he got into a boat and began to teach them using many parables. Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’

 

Jesus also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

 

 

 

A Reflection

 

 

Towards the end of last year, the biblical scholar Paula Gooder – who’s also a Reader and Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral – published a book on the parables.  Having heard her talk on a number of occasions, and having always been struck by what she’s had to say, I immediately bought a copy, thinking it might be helpful when we have a parable for our Gospel reading.

 

As luck would have it, since buying the book hardly any of the parables have appeared in our readings!  We’ve had large chunks of the discourses from John’s Gospel, reports of a whole number of discussions between Jesus and his disciples, and stories of all sorts relating to Jesus’s life – but hardly a parable in sight.  However, today’s the day.  We have two short parables – the growing seed and the mustard seed – and we’re told:    

 

“With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.”

 

Having acquired Paula Gooder’s book, I thought some words from her Introduction might be helpful:

 

There is something about the parables that, for me at least, captures the essence of Jesus. They are playful and thought-provoking.  They cannot be easily tied down.  So often when I think of the parables I imagine Jesus with a twinkle in his eye or a raised eye-brow, waiting, as we reflect on them, for us to discover the sting in the tail, that moment of discomfort that means we have to think again about ourselves, or God, or the world in which we live – or even all three.  In the parables Jesus dances one step ahead of us, challenging us to leave the comfort of what we know we know and instead venture into a new world in which the familiar becomes strange and we have to think, and think, and think to unravel how we might make sense of what is laid before us.

 

Jesus finds the subject matter for his parables, of course, in ordinary things and events around him:  seeds and lamps, farmers and parties. But in those ordinary things and events, Jesus perceives the extraordinary – strange truths which convey to us what Jesus calls “the kingdom of God”.  So it is with today’s two little parables – a parable about seed growing which speaks of the mystery of unseen, miraculous growth, and one about a mustard seed, speaking of the amazing transformation of seed into a tree.

 

On the face of it, the way Jesus teaches in parables seems to be at odds with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in our New Testament reading.  Paul says, “we walk by faith, not by sight”.  But faith doesn’t mean a denial of reason – taking refuge and resting in a kind of faith that we never think about.  Far from it – faith is restless.  It means refusing to be content with how things are, refusing to assume that nothing can change.

 

If we walk by faith then we are open.  We’re open to the possibility of change and transformation, to truth beyond what our eyes and minds can configure, to the possibility of a world made new, to what Jesus calls “the kingdom of God”.

 

Paul goes on to say “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new!” 

 

Jesus saw parables in the ordinary things and events around him – he saw parables which spoke of the kingdom of God.  Perhaps our calling isn’t just to repeat the amazing parables that Jesus has given us, but to hold our eyes and our minds open to the seeing the extraordinary in that which is all around us in our world. 

 

Let me finish with a poem by R S Thomas, called The Kingdom:

 

 

 

THE KINGDOM

 

It’s a long way off but inside it

There are quite different things going on:

Festivals at which the poor man

Is king and the consumptive is

Healed; mirrors in which the blind look

At themselves and love looks at them

Back; and industry is for mending

The bent bones and the minds fractured

By life.  It’s a long way off, but to get

There takes no time and admission

Is free, if you will purge yourself

Of desire, and present yourself with

Your need only and the simple offering

Of your faith, green as a leaf.

 

 

Hymn                     For the fruits of his creation

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0He7zI7kasE

 

For the fruits of his creation
thanks be to God;
for his gifts to every nation
thanks be to God;

for the ploughing, sowing, reaping,

silent growth while we are sleeping,

future needs in earth’s safe keeping,

thanks be to God.

 

In the just reward of labour,
God’s will is done;
in the help we give our neighbour,
God’s will is done;
in our worldwide task of caring
for the hungry and despairing,
in the harvests we are sharing,
God’s will is done.

 

For the harvests of the Spirit,
thanks be to God;
for the good we all inherit,
thanks be to God;
for the wonders that astound us,
for the truths that still confound us,
most of all, that love has found us,
thanks be to God.

 

 

 

Intercessions                   from Roots for Churches

 

 

Eternal, ever-present God, visible and yet invisible,
we bring our prayers for those we know
and those unknown to us.


We seek to journey with you and with them,
to support and uphold them with prayer and love.

 

 

For those who journey with illness and pain,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those searching for meaning and purpose,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those wanting to belong and yet seemingly
always on the edge,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those who lack confidence in themselves,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those who have no faith, no vision for an eternal future,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those who live with lies, secrets and untruths,
transform them by your grace.
 

For those who live without the very basic foundations of life:
without food and water and homes,
transform them by your grace.

 

 

By praying for these, we know that we must walk and work
hand in hand with you, to relieve their suffering and pain.
We trust our prayers, our loving and our living,

to your almighty and eternal presence.
Amen.

 

 

 

The Lord's Prayer

 

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.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

Hymn                     God is working his purpose out

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iiuxet4pJ-c

 

God is working his purpose out,
as year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near:
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

 

From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever foot has trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
rings out the voice of God:
Listen to me you continents,
you islands look to me,
that the earth may be filled with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

 

How can we do the work of God,
how prosper and increase
harmony in the human race,
and the reign of perfect peace?
What can we do to urge the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth may be filled with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea?

 

All our efforts are nothing worth
unless God bless the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed:
Yet ever nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.  

 

 

 

Closing Prayer and Blessing

 

 

Loving God,
Sower, Saviour, Spirit;
we ask you to give us:
eyes to notice where the seeds of your kingdom are growing,
faith enough to help nurture them,
courage to show them to others,
and a heart that delights in them. Amen.

 

 

May the road rise to meet you,

may the wind be always at your back,

may the sun shine warm upon your face,

the rains fall soft upon your fields,

and until we meet again,

may God hold you in the palm of his hand;

and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
 

 

God of the small,
help us to do the little things that make a difference.
Amen.

 

God of life,

take our hopes and let them grow,
so that others may see your love and find a home in you.
Amen.

 

God of surprises,

as we go on our way,
may we delight in your growth, flourish in your love,
and share your hope with the world.
Amen.

 

 

 

 

Some material included in this service is copyright:

© The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2000

 

Some material is Copyright

© Roots for Churches Limited

 

Hymns and songs are reproduced under CCLI numbers:

742099 (St John’s)

493867 (St Leonard’s)

154120 (St Saviour’s)