Note: 'We' and 'our' are appropriate even if you're worshipping
on your own as we all worship together as part of the one 'Body of Christ'
(You may like to create an atmosphere by lighting a candle)
This is the day that the Lord has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Hymn for Today Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
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We come in the name of Christ
to seek forgiveness for our sins,
to offer praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God's holy word,
and to pray for the needs of the world,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit
to give to the service of God.
'Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is close at hand.'
So we turn away from our sin and turn to Christ,
confessing ours ins in penitence and faith.
Silence may be kept to recall our sins
eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,
in what we have thought, in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us,
forgive us all that is past and lead us out
from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen.
Almighty God who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us,
pardon and strengthen us in all goodness
and keep us in life eternal. Amen.
PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator and redeemer of all;
to you be glory and praise for ever.
From the waters of chaos you drew forth the world
and in your great love fashioned us in your image.
Now, through the deep waters of death,
you have brought your people to new birth
May Christ your light ever dawn in our hearts
as we offer you our sacrifice of thanks and praise.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.
Add your own personal concerns or thanks
For Trinity 7
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,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
For Churches Closed To Public Worship
Ever present God, be with us in our isolation,
be close to us in our distancing, be healing in our sickness,
be joy in our sadness,
be light in our darkness,
be wisdom in our confusion,
be all that is familiar when all is unfamiliar,
that when the doors reopen we may
with the zeal of Pentecost inhabit our communities
and speak of your goodness to an emerging world.
For Jesus' sake. Amen.
THE WORD OF GOD
A reading from the Book of Genesis (Genesis 29:15-28)
Then Laban said to Jacob, ‘Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?’ Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, ‘I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.’ Laban said, ‘It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.’ So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
Second Reading: A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (Romans 8:26-39)
Then Jacob said to Laban, ‘Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.’ So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?’ Laban said, ‘This is not done in our country - giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me for another seven years.’ Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.
Thanks be to God.
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.
Gospel Reading: A reading from the Gospel According to Matthew (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52)
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.
Thanks be to God.
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; on 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.’
Thanks be to God.
If you would like to hear the anthem As The Deer Pants For Water sung by the *Dymock Virtual Choir,
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
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(* some members of the Dymock church choir recorded separately at home and played back together to create the sound of a 'virtual choir').
In this week’s Gospel extract, Jesus is defining for us what heaven is like. Since we believe God lives in heaven and is spirit, not a physical body, then heaven is a place of the spirit (St Paul implies this in his first Letter to the Corinthians, “We are sown a physical body, and raised a spiritual body” – 1 Cor 15:44). As humans, we don’t yet know what being ‘spirit’ is like, so it’s not surprising that Jesus can’t describe heaven in anything other than general terms, we wouldn’t understand it if he did, in the same way that people of those times wouldn’t have understood it if he’d described nuclear power!
Jesus’ descriptions therefore are very clever, he describes in ways we can understand – a good place to be and well worth striving for, hence his descriptions include: it’s significance starts small in our life (like a mustard seed) but grows hugely significant to us as our understanding of it grows (like a great tree); it’s a hidden treasure, when we discover it we go out of our way to acquire it. But he also warns us, it’s a place like a fishing net full of good and bad fish – we get sorted into good and bad when we arrive!
It's a timely passage then to strengthen our faith and resolve to be worthy of entering heaven – indeed to look forward to it – and careful not to do things that make us unfit. It’s good to know that the Gospel message is that if we try to be worthy, Jesus feeds us now during this life and will speak up for us and achieve for us what we can’t achieve for ourselves when we die, an entry voucher! (Canon Roger Parker, Lay Reader, Leadon Vale Benefice)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
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.
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.
(You may prefer to go straight to the 'Conclusion' below or add the Agape Communion first)
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you that you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Keep us from falling into sin or running into danger; order us in all our doings and guide us to do always what is righteous in your sight: through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord in Your Mercy: Hear our Prayer.
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord in Your Mercy: Hear our Prayer
You might like to add your own prayers on the following topics:
If you haven't tried it before, try it now in the privacy of your own home – God will hear you no matter how well you think you did it.
- The Church, remembering all who lead our church world-wide, nationally and in our Benefice.
- Your city, town or village and their organisations, including Schools, Care Homes, Clubs and Societies.
- For those who are ill or mourning the loss of loved ones, especially any known to you.
- For all involved in the coronavirus emergency. Include a prayer for those who are ill with the virus at home or in hospital and for those who care for them, especially members of our NHS.
Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ Amen.
You may like to add the prayer Jesus taught us: Our Father...
* 'AGAPE COMMUNION'
You can use bread and wine; or you can use any available food or drink, eg: a biscuit and soft drink is perfectly suitable and will be preferable if children are with you, so they can join in too.
You can do it at any time of the day to suit you, but if you do it at 10:00am,
you can think about all the others doing it at the same time elsewhere, even if they're not physically present with you.
Almighty God, thank you for food and drink and ask you to
bless these offerings in response to Jesus' command
to 'Do this in remembrance of me.' Amen.
All present then share the 'elements'.
(You can break a slice of bread to share, or break a single biscuit, or use individual biscuits.
Individual glasses of drink are probably preferable at this time than a 'shared cup').
you gave your Son Jesus Christ to be the good shepherd,
and in his love for us to lay down his life and rise again:
keep us always under his protection,
and give us grace to follow in his steps;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As we return our attention to the world,
May we remember the love and Commandment of your Son, Jesus Christ,
To serve as he served us. Amen.
Hymn for the Week Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
(click the link to play, close the page to stop)
Click here for a closing guitar voluntary,
Echo for Two Lutes,
played by Shaun & Jo Kennedy on YouTube
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* Agape is a Greek word that means 'Brotherly Love' and has long been used to describe
a 'love meal' or non-priest-blessed commemoration of the Last Supper.
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The book 'Common Worship', material from which is included in this Service,
is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2000