Worship for Sunday 12th July

‘The Sower, The Soil and the Seed’

Photo by Mark Morcom https://freeimages.com/

Call to worship

With eyes to see, and ears to hear,

With lips to sing, and hands to help:

Let us worship God

with the fullness of our being.



StF 82: How Great Thou Art

O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder

consider all the worlds thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,

how great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,

how great Thou art, how great Thou art!


When through the woods and forest glades I wander

and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;\when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,

and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze:

Then sings my soul …


And when I think of God, His Son not sparing

Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in

That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing

He bled and died to take away my sin:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee

How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Then sings my soul…


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And lead me home, what joy shall fill my heart

Then I shall bow with humble adoration

And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art;

Then sings my soul …


Stuart K. Hine. © 1953 Stuart Hine Trust


Prayers of adoration and confession

Lord God, our God,

we cannot begin to fathom how awesome you are, how you have given us so much and in such abundance.

Made in your image, loved eternally and redeemed, we praise you for the Holy Spirit to encourage us, strengthen us, guide and comfort us.

And yet we wander from the path you lay before us, wanting to go our own way; like children testing the boundaries; like adolescents wanting to be cut free, like adults thinking we know best.

Help us to seek you every day, to understand that we need your wisdom and guidance,

and help us to return to the path and walk with you.

Open our eyes and ears to the presence of your Holy Spirit, that the seeds of your Word scattered among us this morning may fall on fertile soil.

May they take root in our hearts and lives,

and produce an abundant harvest

of good words and deeds.

In the name of Christ, who is our companion on this journey of faith, we pray. Amen.


(adapted from prayers by Rev Mindi, posted on Rev-o-lution and Christine Longhurst, re-worship.blogspot.com/)


Matthew 13:1-9, then 18-23 (NIV)

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore.  Then he told them many things in parables, saying:

A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  Whoever has ears, let them hear.


18 Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.  

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.  

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.  

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and under-stands it.

This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.



With apologies to the non-gardeners out there …

There’s nothing I like more on a Friday evening than settling down to watch Gardeners’ World, and discover what Monty Don says we should be doing in our garden that weekend.

I’ve planted flower seeds for a few years now, but this year, like a lot of other people during lockdown, I took to sowing a variety of vegetable seeds, including runner beans, broccoli, cauliflower and courgettes. What a worry! When we’ve had our weekly Zoom coffee morning for Droylsden and Trinity members, I’ve given them regular updates and especially the worry over my courgette plants.

Whether flower or vegetable seeds, seeds come in all sizes and even different sizes and shapes, some so tiny they look like dust, and others, like calendula, big and curly.

But whatever the seeds, the conditions have to be right for that seed, from the right compost, planted at the right depth, and in the right conditions. I don’t know if Jesus ever planted seeds in the ground, let’s be honest, when he’s giving these instructions he’s sat in a boat, not doing a Monty Don in his own garden. But then, is Jesus really talking about gardening? Is he talking about the seeds, the soil or the sower? Look up this story in a few commentaries and they’ll each say something different.

Because we have heavy clay soil in our garden in which no tiny seed would survive without a little pre-planting in the appropriate compost and conditions, I’m going to say it’s about the soil.

There’s something about plunging a seed into the earth that is a hope for the future. As we prepare the soil and plant the seeds we don’t envisage that in a few months our gardens will be empty, but we sow with a vision in our minds that the seeds will burst forth and in a few months time there will be a riot of colourful flowers and vegetables. There’s something about the now and the not yet in planting. Just as there is the kingdom of God.

And so I wonder, how do we imagine our churches looking when we go back to worship, in a few weeks time or later? There’s a lot to be done now, before we can even imagine being back to worship, and a feeling of ‘not yet’ for a lot of people.

How do we need to prepare that ground, what needs to be removed, improved, to ensure we are providing the best environment for people, in which the seed of God’s word can grow and flourish. And which seeds do we need to plant in hope for the future?   Seeds of love and care, compassion, courage, planted with prayer in the hope that the earth and all its people will flourish in the knowledge of the glory of God.

Why not take a walk in your garden, a nearby park or field?

Feel the path beneath your feet, pick up a stone, look for a thorn, touch the earth.

Reflect on which types of ground you most identify with at the moment.

Let this inspire your praying.


Here’s a prayer you can use to accompany this exercise:

Jesus the sower

whatever I am today,

whatever the mix of path, rock, thorns or soil,

help me to become good ground for you, for your word and for your presence. Amen.



Online: In the bulb there is a flower


Written resource hymn:

StF 520: Give to me Lord a thankful heart

Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart

and a discerning mind;

give, as I play the Christians’ part,

the strength to finish what I start

and act on what I find.


When, in the rush of days,

my will is habit-bound and slow

help me to keep in vision still

what love and power and peace can fill

a life that trusts in you.


By your divine and urgent claim,

and by your human face,

kindle our sinking hearts to flame,

and as you teach the world your name

let it become your place.


Jesus, with all your Church I long

to see your kingdom come;

show me you way of righting wrong

and turning sorrow into song

until you bring me home.


Thomas Caryl Micklem


In every soul there is the potential for God’s kingdom to be established,

full of peace, and joy, and love.


Let us pray together for the growth of the kingdom, for hearts to be alerted to their need of God and fullness of life that God alone can give.

Lord, may your kingdom come.


We pray for all who have put their trust in money, possessions and success, and feel the nudge of disillusion.

Lord, may your kingdom come.


We pray for those in whom spiritual growth is fragile and vulnerable.

Lord, may your kingdom come.

The growing may be painful,

root growth may be unseen,

we may sometimes prefer the seed we are

than the tree we might become.


Lord, give us courage for the growing,

that we may grow tall in your love and bear fruit in abundance for your glory, and for the good of your world.



The Lord’s Prayer …

(Prayer from ‘To Worship in Stillness’ by Susan Sayers)


StF 51: Great is thy faithfulness

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions,

they fail not;

as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.


Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed thy hand hath provided—

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Great is Thy faithfulness …


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Great is Thy faithfulness …


Thomas O. Chisholm

© 1923, renewed 1951, Hope Publishing Co.



We bless you,

God of seed and harvest

and we bless each other

that the beauty of this world

and the love that created it

might be expressed though our lives

and be a blessing to others

now and always.  Amen.


And the blessing of God,

Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,

be upon you and remain with you,

and all those you love and pray for,

this day and always. Amen.