Sunday 19th July: 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
This short act of worship has been prepared for you to use if you are unable to attend church by the Methodist Connexion. If you are well enough why not spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people are sharing this act of worship with you. For Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, the slides and creative prayer from Hope, Hannah and Millie have been added as well as an audio sermon by Local Preacher, Susan Thorne and this week also a video all age talk by Rev John Purdy.
Hymn StF 81: Now thank we all our God
Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:
Let us pray together
we gather in the knowledge and vision of your love.
In the Risen Christ, Jesus’ disciples were filled with new hope and they saw that you called them to speak your message of renewal, commitment, forgiveness and freedom.
We thank you that you have called us to share that hope, even in the uncertainty that we often feel.
You dwell with us, your love enfolds us and we find peace in your presence.
We thank you that Jesus brings new insights into the world and that through his life, death and resurrection you continue to speak with us today. Jesus reached out his hands in healing, in friendship and in blessing; may we do the same in his name today.
We thank you that you continue to reach out into the life of the world; that in our deepest uncertainty you bring the certainty of your love; in the place of deepest darkness you bring your light and into our lives you bring your forgiveness.
Creator God, we pray that you continue to inform our compassion, be our vision and bring light, hope and peace to us and to all the world.
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
This week, find a stone.
It could be a stone that you may have in your house or maybe from outside. Hold onto this stone and think about this week.
Was there any time when you didn’t follow God,
maybe you went in your own direction?
While holding onto the stone,
think about these times,
in the past week and before,
and ask God’s forgiveness and help.
Today’s Psalm: 139:1-12, 23-24
God’s Complete Knowledge and Care
Lord, you have examined me and you know me.
2 You know everything I do;
from far away you understand all my thoughts.
3 You see me, whether I am working or resting;
you know all my actions.
4 Even before I speak,
you already know what I will say.
5 You are all around me on every side;
you protect me with your power.
6 Your knowledge of me is too deep;
it is beyond my understanding.
7 Where could I go to escape from you?
Where could I get away from your presence?
8 If I went up to heaven, you would be there;
if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.
9 If I flew away beyond the east
or lived in the farthest place in the west,
10 you would be there to lead me,
you would be there to help me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me
or the light around me to turn into night,
12 but even darkness is not dark for you,
and the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to you.
23 Examine me, O God, and know my mind;
test me, and discover my thoughts.
24 Find out if there is any evil in me
and guide me in the everlasting way.
Today’s Gospel Reading:
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man sowed good seed in his field. 25 One night, when everyone was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 When the plants grew and the heads of grain began to form, then the weeds showed up. 27 The man’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, it was good seed you sowed in your field; where did the weeds come from?’ 28 ‘It was some enemy who did this,’ he answered. ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’ they asked him. 29 ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them. 30 Let the wheat and the weeds both grow together until harvest. Then I will tell the harvest workers to pull up the weeds first, tie them in bundles and burn them, and then to gather in the wheat and put it in my barn.’”
Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds
36 When Jesus had left the crowd and gone indoors, his disciples came to him and said, “Tell us what the parable about the weeds in the field means.”
37 Jesus answered, “The man who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world; the good seed is the people who belong to the Kingdom; the weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One; 39 and the enemy who sowed the weeds is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvest workers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered up and burned in the fire, so the same thing will happen at the end of the age: 41 the Son of Man will send out his angels to gather up out of his Kingdom all those who cause people to sin and all others who do evil things, 42 and they will throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will cry and gnash their teeth. 43 Then God’s people will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Listen, then, if you have ears!
Today’s Epistle Reading:
12 So then, my friends, we have an obligation, but it is not to live as our human nature wants us to. 13 For if you live according to your human nature, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death your sinful actions, you will live. 14 Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children. 15 For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” 16 God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children. 17 Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.
The Future Glory
18 I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. 20 For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope 21 that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth. 23 But it is not just creation alone which groans; we who have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts also groan within ourselves as we wait for God to make us his children and[a] set our whole being free. 24 For it was by hope that we were saved; but if we see what we hope for, then it is not really hope. For who of us hopes for something we see? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Time to Reflect
Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!
As we continue to worship online, we have a pick and mix approach to this sermon slot. You can choose to listen to (1) Susan’s sermon as we have had through lockdown. Today you might also choose to listen to (2) an all age video by our minister, Rev John Purdy or instead to read (3) the pdf sheet from Roots or (4) the Connexional reflection or (5) just take time for yourself and reflect on the readings you have just read and heard.
1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the file below
2. Or listen and watch an all age talk by our minister, Rev John Purdy as he chats with Willowy Weed:
3. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings
4. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:
Jesus often used the natural world as a means of helping his disciples explore the Kingdom of God. In today’s Gospel reading Jesus gives us one of the parables of the Kingdom which tells us about the way that plants grow. Here both the good crop and the weeds which are planted later begin to grow; as they grow, they merge together.
Jesus knew about the impact of good and evil which was to find its full force as he walked the way of the cross. He knew about human nature. He knew that goodness, truth and justice are in the world but oppression, injustice and conflict are there also. Just like the plant and the weeds which grow together in this parable, so the complexity of human experience both good and bad exist alongside one another.
The crop and the weeds grow together as do good and evil and so does opportunity and oppression, hope and despair, light and darkness. It is only when the harvest is brought in that the weeds and the crop can be separated. Here is a parable of the end times, but it was also a parable of the hope of the Kingdom which means that forgiveness is always offered and when accepted has a transformational impact on the way that life can be lived and hope is shared.
What though might this mean for us today? We live in an imperfect world, where human beings do the best of things and the worst of things. Jesus knew that, finding the best when he took the smallest offering of 5 loaves and 2 fish which fed the crowd of well over 5000 people and yet finding the worst in a crowd crying, ‘Crucify’.
Paul, in our reading from his letter to the Romans, tells us that the whole creation eagerly awaits redemption. Here is the deeper hope, a moment when all may find redemption offered through the cross and the renewal that it brings. After all, as Jesus shows us, there is hope for all in what God has done and in what God is doing. May that hope be seen in our response to the world as we discover and share God’s love which continues to bring light into the darkness of our mixed up, imperfect world.
The parable tells us that the weeds and the good crop grow together; can good and evil ever be untangled in this world? What challenge does this present to our living as God’s faithful people in the world today?
5. or take a walk to the church garden and pray as you walk around the labyrinth there, silently listening to God as you travel inwards to the cross at the centre and then back outwards again into the world
6. and/or from next week plan to book your place at the BAFCC Drive-in Service at the Bondgate Car Park
7. and/or sit quietly and reflect on the prayers, readings and thoughts here and listen for what God might be saying to you through them
Take a time to sit quietly…
Hope and Millie’s Reflection Slides
Prayers of Intercession
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Hymn StF 704: In Labour all creation groans
Sing/ Read /pray /proclaim the words or listen to it here:
The blessing of God, the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit be upon us, now and always.
Original Materials by Rev Philip Wagstaff
All Hymns reproduced under CCLi 882296