Service – Sunday 12th July

Prelude in D minor BWV 554 by JS Bach
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Call to worship
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

StF 415 – Hymn – The Church of Christ
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The Church of Christ, in every age
beset by change but Spirit-led,
must claim and test its heritage
and keep on rising from the dead.

Across the world, across the street,
the victims of injustice cry
for shelter and for bread to eat,
and never live until they die.

Then let the servant Church arise,
a caring Church that longs to be
a partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
and clothed in Christ’s humanity.

For he alone, whose blood was shed,
can cure the fever in our blood,
and teach us how to share our bread
and feed the starving multitude.

We have no mission but to serve
in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all, without reserve,
and spread his liberating Word.

Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)

Prayer
Creator God, source of all life,
you formed a diverse and complex creation.
You created us in your image;
we are part of the story of your love for all that you have made.
Receive our thanks and praise.

Through the teachers and prophets of old,
the story of your love was told.
We have not always followed your way of love;
yet, you continue to care for us.
At great cost, you sent Jesus Christ into the world,
to teach us again what it means to live in your way.
Receive our thanks and praise.

Through Christ’s life, death and resurrection,
we can know for ourselves, the story of love, faith and salvation.
Through your gift of the Holy Spirit, you continue to lead us into truth
and give us power to tell your story throughout the world.
Receive our thanks and praise.

As we give thanks for the story of your love,
strengthen us for service
and accept our praise.

In the name of Christ. Amen

God of creation, Source of all being
the heavens declare your glory
and the earth is your handiwork.
For the diverse beauty of all you have made;
we offer you our praise.

God of salvation, Eternal Word,
you came amongst your people,
and made yourself vulnerable
to the risky business of human living.
we offer you our praise.

God of life, Holy Spirit,
you move in the church and in the world,
calling the least and the lost
into a deeper fellowship of love.
we offer you our praise.

God of all grace,
Accept our praise, and help us to live as your people in the world.
Amen

Confession
Let us confess our sins,
trusting in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Silence is kept.

For those times when we have lost sight of your love, despairing for ourselves and the world.

For those times when we have lost perspective, putting our own concerns before the needs of your world.

For those times when we have taken for granted the gifts that you have given to us.

For those times when we have chosen to ignore injustice, and neglected those in need.

Absolution
God has heard our confession,
loves us still and, through Christ,
offers healing and a new beginning.
Hear then, Christ’s gracious words:

“Our sins are forgiven.”

Amen. Thanks be to God.

Reading
Matthew 13.1-9 & 18-23

StF 410 – Hymn – Lord, your Church on earth
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Lord, your Church on earth is seeking
your renewal from above;
teach us all the art of speaking
with the accent of your love.
We would heed your great commission:
sending us to every place —
preach, baptise, fulfil my mission,
serve with love and share my grace.

Freedom give to those in bondage,
lift the burdens caused by sin.
Give new hope, new strength and courage,
grant release from fears within:
light for darkness; joy for sorrow;
love for hatred; peace for strife.
These and countless blessings follow
as the Spirit gives new life.

In the streets of every city
where the bruised and lonely dwell,
let us show the Saviour’s pity,
let us of his mercy tell.
In all lands and with all races
let us serve, and seek to bring
all the world to render praises,
Christ, to you, Redeemer, King.

Hugh Sherlock (1905-1998)

Address
Click here to listen to the Address presented by Rev Mark Barrett

As you all know I am not at all very good in the garden. I have recently found bee bombs though. A round ball of wild flower seeds. You rake over the garden, scatter them and then cover, water regularly and eventually wild flowers blossom. This helps the bees. That is the extent of my gardening. It is also the role I played as a sower of the seed.

When we read the parable and we see Jesus as the sower, the seed is the word of God and we are the soil. The question is always what type of soil are we?

Let us look at this slightly differently, let us look at what it may mean for us today.

What if we are the sowers and people around us, our communities, the people we interact with are the soil.

The question is what seeds are we sowing and what are we sowing those seeds for?

The world sows’ seeds of doubt, seeds of violence, seeds of greed, seeds of hatred and seeds of destruction.

We, however, are not of the world. We are in the world but not of it. If we are not sowing the seeds of the world, what seeds are we sowing in the world?

My thoughts are that the seeds we are sowing are the seeds of the kingdom. We pray ‘thy kingdom come on earth’, but if we are serious about that then to grow the kingdom we have to plant the seeds.

We cannot stand back and say ‘God we prayed for the kingdom to come, just do it’. Just the same as we cannot pray ‘God I really like that person, you love them for me.’ God is not an interventionist God that makes up for our laziness, our lack of commitment and our desire to have it all but do nothing for it.

No, God is not like that and neither are we. We are God’s people, we have come to see in Jesus the reality of the kingdom and we want in. We want to bring it in, we have to start from the ground up, or even deeper. We need to grow the kingdom, because the kingdom is a living, breathing way of life.

To grow it we need to sow the seeds. In all we do and say, we spread the seeds. The seeds of the kingdom.

What are the seeds of the kingdom, you may say?

Well here is a list, not an exhaustive list, but it will do to be going on and you will get the gist of it:

Mercy, grace, humility, justice, righteousness, forgiveness, hope, passion, compassion, peace, forgiveness, trust, bring home the lost, listen to the voiceless and love.

These are some, but not all, of the seeds that need to blossom for the kingdom to grow and be established among us. We are to cast them far and wide. We are to cast them, as Jesus commands in the great commission, ‘as we are going’.

Those we cast them upon are the soil and their response will depend on which type of soil they are or want to be, because you can only be a kingdom grower if you believe in the kingdom, if you want the kingdom to come. You can only be a kingdom grower if you are prepared to sow the seeds, the seeds that have taken root in your own heart, the seeds of love.

StF 407 – Hymn – Hear the call of the kingdom (sung by Kristyn Getty)
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

Hear the call of the kingdom,
lift your eyes to the King;
let his song rise within you
as a fragrant offering
of how God, rich in mercy,
came in Christ to redeem
all who trust in his unfailing grace.

Hear the call of the kingdom
to be children of light
with the mercy of heaven,
the humility of Christ;
walking justly before him,
loving all that is right,
that the life of Christ may shine through us.
King of heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world,
filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
salvation in Jesus’ name.

Hear the call of the kingdom
to reach out to the lost
with the Father’s compassion
in the wonder of the cross,
bringing peace and forgiveness,
and a hope yet to come:
let the nations put their trust in him.
King of heaven, we will answer the call.
We will follow, bringing hope to the world,
filled with passion, filled with power to proclaim
salvation in Jesus’ name.

Keith Getty (b. 1974), Kristyn Getty (b. 1980) and Stuart Townend (b. 1963)

Prayers of Intercession
Gracious God,
You care for all that you have made,
hear us now as we offer our prayers in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ.

For all creation, we pray,
remembering places degraded by human selfishness.
Forests disappeared, rivers dried up, planes flooded and rising sea levels.

For all in authority, we pray,
remembering those who bear the heavy weight of responsibility.
We think of those whose decisions affect many lives,
in our villages, towns and cities,
in our counties and in our countries.
We pray that they may have wisdom, strength and humility.

For all your church, we pray,
remembering the body of Christ throughout the world.
As we give thanks that we are free to worship here today,
we remember those who cannot gather, among them those who live with ongoing restrictions and those who know the danger of persecution.
We know that many churches will struggle to continue, following these months of closure and we pray for wisdom and discernment as we work out how to be your church in the future.

For all in need, we pray,
remembering those who are ill in homes and in hospital.
We give thanks for the NHS, for all health and social care professionals, cleaners and caterers and so many others who help to bring healing and comfort.
We give thanks for volunteers and all who serve their neighbours, offering care.
We pray that those who give their time and skill to serve others might be protected and be given your peace and strength.

For all who grieve, we pray,
remembering those who have not been able to mourn in the way that they would wish,
and those who have not been able to say goodbye.
We hold before you all who have died,
remembering that each person is made in your image.
Help us to remember that you are the God of resurrection and in you we find hope and new life.

All our prayers, spoken and unspoken, we offer to God,
in the name of Jesus Christ. 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.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Amen

StF 251 – Jesus Christ is waiting
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Jesus Christ is waiting,
waiting in the streets;
no one is his neighbour,
all alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am lonely too:
make me, friend or stranger,
fit to wait on you.

Jesus Christ is raging,
raging in the streets,
where injustice spirals
and real hope retreats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am angry too:
in the Kingdom’s causes
let me rage with you.

Jesus Christ is healing,
healing in the streets,
curing those who suffer,
touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I have pity too:
let my care be active,
healing, just like you.

Jesus Christ is dancing,
dancing in the streets,
where each sign of hatred
he, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I should triumph too:
where good conquers evil
let me dance with you.

Jesus Christ is calling,
calling in the streets,
‘Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.’
Listen, Lord Jesus,
let my fears be few:
walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

John L. Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b. 1958)

Blessing
O Lord our God
When times are hard, walk beside us.

When we are unsure of which way to turn, dwell within us.

When we need to listen to others, encourage us.

When our lives and work bear fruit, rejoice with us.

We go into the world,
to walk in God’s light, to rejoice in God’s love and to reflect God’s glory.
Amen.

Toccata from Plymouth Suite by Percy Whitlock
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