26 July 2020 Seventh Sunday after Trinity Green
Genesis 29.15-28 Psalm 105.1-11,45b Romans 8.26-39 Matthew 13.31-33,44-52
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This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Prayers of Penitence
Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.
We have not sought for the treasure that is found in your words for us.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
We have wasted our treasures and have moved away from your kingdom
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
We do not help others discover their treasure in the fields of mission.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
May the God of all healing and forgiveness draw us to himself, and cleanse us from all our sins that we may behold the glory of his Son, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, there are treasures that are indeed hidden – I know that you can help me to discover all of them. Help me to understand that I’m God’s treasure. I trust in you today to help me discover all. Whatever you want me to do, I will do them and all treasures will be mine in Jesus name. Amen.
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, Amen.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 13.31-33,44-52
Glory to you, O Lord.
31Jesus put before the crowd another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it 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.’ 33He 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.
44The 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.
45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51Have you understood all this?’ They answered, ‘Yes.’ 52And 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.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
Treasure to many means something a pirate might steal or a hidden gem. When treasure is mentioned by Jesus, he is using it as a metaphor for heaven and the kingdom of God. Treasure is something valuable and revered, treasure is a powerful thing.
We might only share our treasure with those we love and trust to respect its importance to us. If our treasure is lessened, whether stolen, shared or worse still rejected or derided, then our value is affected too.
Jesus’ talking about heaven and the kingdom in this way is challenging. He is sharing with us treasure, and in the many parables told by him often this treasure is misused. Think of the lost pearl or the seed without a chance to grow, the treasure hidden in the field – forgotten perhaps?
This is one of the challenging parts of the reading today. The treasure hidden in the field, and found, and the finder goes and sells all their possessions and so can buy the field.
Humm – this smack of some bad behaviour! First who did the treasure belong to? The owner of the field or someone else? Why was the treasure hidden? It was left unused and apparently unwanted too. What do you feel about the dishonesty about the person buying the field who obviously did not let anyone know about the treasure prior to buying the field, and what were they doing trespassing in the field anyway? All valid and interesting questions. All of them move us away from one of the messages of this reading.
If we hoard the treasure God gives us, if we lock it away to keep for ourselves, then we shall lose it.
The kingdom of God is not limited to a certain number of people. The kingdom is available to all. However often we act as if there was only enough space for a few folks, and we want to be part of those who get in. The kingdom is not like getting into a prestigious school, no entry tests, or affordability criteria. Or like a cake that can only feed 8 people!
We will not have less of God’s love, God’s grace, God’s welcome if we share this good news with others. In fact, the more we speak and live in the grace and love and peace of God, the more aware we are of God’s presence around us always. So take the treasure we have been given, and use it! Live with it on show in your lives, and so become a treasure beacon for the lost. Amen.
Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess the faith of the Church.
Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
Intercessions by Sarah Hargreaves engageworship.org
How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever? How long will you hide your face from me? We pray for those who feel forgotten and unseen, may they know that they are remembered and seen by you God. Help us to partner with you to remember the forgotten. Search our hearts to reveal those we hide our faces from, the outcast, the stranger or the homeless. Change our hearts, that we may turn our faces towards these people and see them as your beloved children.
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? We pray for those we know who struggle with mental illnesses, anxiety and depression. We pray that there will be resources released to help, enough staff employed and finances given towards mental health services nationally. Help us to be a friend and a listening ear to those who suffer. Fill us with compassion and wisdom. Ultimately, we pray for those who wrestle with sorrow, that they may know your victory over those dark thoughts which currently seem to triumph..
Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. We pray for those who might be considered fallen by those around them: may they know your restoration and grace. Help us to not judge or exclude your beloved children, but instead lift them up in prayer, and embrace them with the grace we know in Christ.
Thank you, loving Father God, for hearing our prayer. We proclaim together: But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Father God, we thank you for the worldwide Church, that we - although many different nationalities and types of people - can be one family. We thank you for all the moments of joy that being part of your Church has brought to us. We pause and each thank God in our own hearts (leave some silence).
Night and day, we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. We pray that you will grow the faith of your Church, especially in those places where we are under pressure and attack. Where there is faltering faith, we thank you that you can supply what is lacking. Let's pause and each lift up a situation where we know people are struggling (leave some silence)
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. We pray that you, Father God, will make the way for your Church, to follow your will and live out your Good News wherever we find ourselves. May the Lord make our love increase, and overflow for each other and for everyone else. May he strengthen our hearts so that we will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. In Jesus name, Amen.
Concluding with the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be on done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
May Christ, whose treasure is hidden in full view in yeast and pearls, fields and fish, bring us to recognise his treasure within us and bring us new hope and a new future, and fill us with his new life; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always. Amen.
Jesus, Lord of time, hold us in your eternity.
Jesus, image of God, travel with us the life of faith.
Jesus, friend of sinners, heal the brokenness of our world.
Jesus, Lord of tomorrow, draw us into your future. Amen.
Go and live the welcome of God, the peace of God and the love of God
We go in peace and seek out our treasure in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):
Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops' Council 2000
Collect (7th after Trinity) © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662) Intercessions Sarah Hargreaves Confession bidding prayer and Blessing Vanda Perrett 2020