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19 July 2020

Trinity 6


FIRST READING (click to expand)

Wisdom of Solomon 12.13,16-19

For neither is there any god besides you, whose care is for all people,
to whom you should prove that you have not judged unjustly;
For your strength is the source of righteousness,
and your sovereignty over all causes you to spare all.
For you show your strength when people doubt the completeness of your power,
and you rebuke any insolence among those who know it.
Although you are sovereign in strength, you judge with mildness,
and with great forbearance you govern us;
for you have power to act whenever you choose.
Through such works you have taught your people
that the righteous must be kind,
and you have filled your children with good hope,
because you give repentance for sins.

PSALM (click to expand)

Psalm 86 verse 11 to the end

Teach me your way, O LORD,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name for ever.
For great is your steadfast love towards me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

O God, the insolent rise up against me;
a band of ruffians seeks my life,
and they do not set you before them.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and be gracious to me;
give your strength to your servant;
save the child of your serving-maid.
Show me a sign of your favour,
so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
because you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

SECOND READING (click to expand)

Romans 8:12-2

So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew, chapter 13

He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.” The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

The Meaning of Life: Week One:
Consciously identifying your matrix


The Kingdom of God

O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

The angels keep their ancient places—
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
`Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.

But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry—and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.
Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry—clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!

by Francis Thompson (1859, 1907)

For Your Prayers this week

Please lay aside all busy thoughts and plans for a time of stillness and peace in the presence of God.

Jesus told the story of the merchant who found a pearl of such great value that he sold all he had in order to possess that pearl. The search for the pearl of great price is what life must be about. If we do not grow slack in our endeavour, we will discover the beauty, value, mystery and glory of God and His Kingdom. The search for God is, in itself, a treasure worth more than all we possess.

Let us thank God for all His priceless gifts to us and ask Him to fill us with gratitude for them and with a constant awareness of their value:

We thank you God of love and compassion that your love flows through each one of us to touch, fill and surround all whom we love.

We thank you for our families, our love for them and theirs for us.

We thank you for the precious gift of friendship. Help us to value this gift and be loving, loyal friends in return.

We thank you for the love of those people who have brought us to you, people through whom we have found the treasure, and we pray that others may find it through us.

We thank you for the beauty and variety of your creation, for the vastness and mystery of the Universe, for the wonders of our planet with its multitude of animals, insects, fish, birds, flowers and plants, for the variety of landscapes and colours and for your steadfast love which sustains all you have made for us. May all people of all nations come to appreciate these natural gifts above material riches and possessions and become better stewards of your creation, ensuring protection of these priceless gifts.

We pray that, in this unusual time in which we live at present, people will reflect on their priorities, on what is of value to them, on the priceless treasures in their own lives and on the One from whom these treasures come.

We confess that we often hold certain things in our lives so tightly, that we are not able to receive what you long to give us. We think of what we have as our possessions but sometimes they possess us. Help us to free our grip on the ephemeral things of this world that we value too much and which prevent us from receiving the lasting gifts that You would give us.

We thank you Lord God that your Kingdom has come to us in Jesus Christ who has shown us that the marks of the kingdom are compassion, justice, love, mercy, peace of mind and heart, closeness to you. These are the treasures of life. We open our hands with gratitude, that you may fill them.



A reflection:

The search for the pearl of great price is what life must be about. If we do not grow slack in our endeavour, it will lead to the discovery of the beauty, value, mystery, power and glory of God and His Kingdom. Heaven will be a moment of the full revelation of the Kingdom and the inner life of God.

The search for God is, in itself, a treasure worth more than all we possess. The search must be our priority. God asks us to show that priority, not as a single act of renunciation, but all through our life, in every decision we take. There is no room for compromises. We must be prepared to let go of what does not matter, lay aside our preoccupations and plans so that God’s way might unfold.

Although the unearthing of a treasure, the discovery of something valuable may make us want to tell others immediately, there will be times when we need to receive God’s word quietly, turning it over in our hearts, valuing it and considering our lives in its light.

The Kingdom of God has come to us in Jesus Christ. The marks of His kingdom are compassion, justice, love, mercy, peace of mind and heart, closeness to God. These are the treasures of life. The pearl is the love of God and the love of people who bring us to God. We thank God for those people through whom we have found the treasure and pray that others may find it through us.

O Lord, we often hold certain things so tightly
that we are not able to receive
those gifts that You would give to us.
We think of what we have as our possessions
but sometimes they possess us.
Help us to free our grip on the things of this world
that we value too much and which
prevent us from receiving from You.
May we open our hands with gratitude
that You may fill them.


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The Pearl of Great Price

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