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26 July 2020

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity


FIRST READING (click to expand)

1 Kings 3:5-12

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.”

And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today.
And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.

God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.

PSALM (click to expand)

Psalm 119:129-136

Your decrees are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant, because I long for your commandments.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your custom toward those who love your name.
Keep my steps steady according to your promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me.

Redeem me from human oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

My eyes shed streams of tears because your law is not kept.

SECOND READING (click to expand)

Romans 8:26-39

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

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

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.
And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

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?
Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

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.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 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.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

The Holy Gospel according to St Matthew

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;
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.”

He told them another parable: “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 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.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 0n finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.”
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.”


The Meaning of Life: Week Two
Witnessing Presence


Easter Dawn

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
`They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

by Malcolm Guite

Blessings on the feast of the great Apostle and Saint Mary Magdalene

Did you know there is a Gospel of Mary. In this gnostic gospel, Mary Magdalene appears as a disciple, singled out by Jesus for special teachings. In this excerpt, the other disciples are discouraged and grieving Jesus’ death. Mary stands up and attempts to comfort them, reminding them that Jesus’ presence remains with them. It was found in a Cairo bazaar in 1896,by a German scholar who happened to come across a curious papyrus book. Bound in leather and written in Coptic, this was the Gospel of Mary. Like the books found at Nag Hammadi, the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene is also considered an apocryphal text.

Mary Magdalene is one of the most influential symbols in the history of Christianity — yet, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find only a handful of verses that speak of her. How did she become such a compelling saint in the face of such paltry evidence? In her effort to answer that question, Cynthia Bourgeault examines the Bible, church tradition, art, legend, and newly discovered texts to see what’s there. She then applies her own reasoning and intuition, informed by the wisdom of the ages-old Christian contemplative tradition. What emerges is a radical view of Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ most important disciple, the one he considered to understand his teaching best. That teaching was characterized by a nondualistic approach to the world and by a deep understanding of the value of the feminine. Cynthia shows how an understanding of Mary Magdalene can revitalize contemporary Christianity, how Christians and others can, through her, find their way to Jesus’ original teachings and apply them to their modern lives.


An extract from a homily by St Gregory the Great:

‘Mary Magdalene loved Jesus, the Truth, and so washed away with her tears the stains of wickedness. Jesus said,” Her many sins have been forgiven her, because she loved much.” After the Resurrection, she came to the tomb and failed to find the body of the Lord there. The disciples came, saw, and went away. Mary Magdalene stood outside the sepulchre weeping. When even the disciples departed, she did not depart. She sought him whom she had not found, weeping as she searched. Inflamed with the fire of her love, she burned with desire for him who she believed had been taken away. So it happened that she who stayed behind to seek him was the only one who saw him. Surely, the essence of every good work is perseverance.’

So, reflecting on the example of strong faith and perseverance seen in Mary Magdalene we pray:

Lord we thank you for the example of steadfast, wholehearted love for you,
that we see in Mary Magdalene.
We are deeply grateful that her experience assures us of this wonderful truth — that, if we
acknowledge our sins and are truly contrite,
and if we love you with our whole heart,
you do not withhold your forgiveness from us, whatever we have to confess to you.
In her heart she knew that you would not have abandoned her and the other disciples,
and so she looked for you and waited for you
and was rewarded for the persistence of her love and trust.
May we love like her, seek like her, and wait trustfully like her.
We ask this for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ


For Your Prayers this week

Please find a quiet place and begin with one or two conscious breaths

Becoming present still and open
Thank God for Ceation and creativity
For life
For its beauty and expression of Love
Thank God for music and for poetry – for God’s voice through human understanding
Thank God for His faithfulness to you, to all things ,sustaining all in all
Thank God for this love that undergirds and infuses
Thank God for the people who whispered a confirmation of God’s presence to you
Thank God for the great Saints and the expression of love in their lives
Thank God today for Mary of Magdalene
For her wisdom, her courage, her unwavering love
Her life and her death
Her work, her community and the Gospels she inspired
Pray for all women who have been maligned, misused and misrepresented
That they will find the strength of Mary of Magdala
Pray for those in desperate need
For the hungry children in our community
For those people who are held in slavery in Norfolk
For those who are oppressed
For those who have lost hope
Pray for the sick among us
For Pat, for a full recovery and for strengthening
Pray for those who are mourning – peace and hope
For Elizabeth as she grieves her mother
For the Grooms as they grieve the loss of Jackie
And with them we give thanks for the life of those who have died
Pray for your family God’s blessing and God’s protection – and give thanks for them
Pray for yourself
For a more and more whole, ordinary humble and holy way of living


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