Worship for Sunday 13th June, by Rev. Joy Rulton

Call to worship:

For your love that never changes,
we praise you, O God.

For the miracle of growth,
we praise you, O God.

For stories that tell of your love,
we praise you, O God.

Hymn:  StF 499

Great God, your love has called us here,
as we, by love for love were made.
Your living likeness still we bear,
though marred, dishonoured, disobeyed.
We come, with all our heart and mind
your call to hear, your love to find.

We come with self-inflicted pains
of broken trust and chosen wrong,
half free, half bound by inner chains,
by social forces swept along,
by powers and systems close confined
yet seeking hope for human kind.

Great God, in Christ you call our name
and then receive us as your own,
not through some merit, right or claim,
but by your gracious love alone.
We strain to glimpse your mercy seat
and find you kneeling at our feet.

Then take the towel, and break the bread,
and humble us, and call us friends.
Suffer and serve till all are fed,
and show how grandly love intends
to work till all creation sings,
to fill all worlds, to crown all things.

Great God, in Christ you set us free
your life to live, your joy to share.
Give us your Spirit’s liberty
to turn from guilt and dull despair
and offer all that faith can do
while love is making all things new.

Prayer of praise:

God of grace and growth,
you have called us to plant the seeds of your kingdom
in the fields of your world,
and to trust you for their developing and flourishing –
and so we praise you.

For the abundance of your creativity:
we praise you.

For the transforming nature of your Spirit:
we praise you.

For the power of small beginnings:
we praise you.

For the mystery of hidden growth:
we praise you.

And for the harvest we are invited to delight in:
we praise you.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Ezekiel 17:22-24

22 Thus says the Lord God:

I myself will take a sprig
    from the lofty top of a cedar;
    I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
    from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
    on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain height of Israel
    I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
    and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
    in the shade of its branches will nest
    winged creatures of every kind.
24 All the trees of the field shall know
    that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
    I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
    and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
    I will accomplish it.

Mark 4:26-34

26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Hymn:  StF 255

The kingdom of God is justice and joy;
For Jesus restores what sin would destroy.
God’s power and glory in Jesus we know;
And here and hereafter the kingdom shall grow.

The kingdom of God is mercy and grace;
The captives are freed, the sinners find place,
The outcast are welcomed God’s banquet to share;
And hope is awakened in place of despair.

The kingdom of God is challenge and choice:
Believe the good news, repent and rejoice!
God’s love for us sinners brought Christ to his cross:
Our crisis of judgement for gain or for loss.

God’s kingdom is come, the gift and the goal;
In Jesus begun, in heaven made whole.
The heirs of the kingdom shall answer his call;
And all things cry “Glory!” to God all in all.

C: Music: Gerald Barnes Words: Bryn Rees


My grandparents would take us walking over the South Downs when I was little. They taught me the names of all the plants; gorse, harebells, bird’s foot trefoil – and bee orchids. Sadly, you no longer find them. A few years ago I thought I’d get my mum some bee orchid seeds for Christmas. It took a while, searching online, but I found them. It wasn’t until we were reading the instructions for planting them that we realised they take up to seven years to germinate. We tend to be more impatient. We want almost immediate results.

The kingdom of God doesn’t always grow in the time we expect it or in the way we expect. Jesus encourages us to keep going, even when we don’t see the results we’d like to see.

In Ezekiel, the prophecy was that a new cedar tree would be grown from the sprig of an old one.

It was rather a double-edged sword for the people of Judah. Jerusalem was about to be destroyed and the people taken into exile. The old cedar would fall. Yet, out of defeat, a new cedar would grow in which every kind of bird could make its nest. The people can trust that God is at work and a new city would later be built.

Jesus uses the image of a mustard plant. He describes how the kingdom can grow into something big from the tiniest of beginnings. The mustard could be a big shrub, but nothing like the size of the cedar tree in Ezekiel. Yet birds nest in that too. It’s a lovely image of the kingdom being a place of security and protection, one where people can be nurtured and grow, one where everyone is cherished and can flourish, both individually and together.

But we have to sow the seeds, or nothing will happen, however long we wait. People like us continue to share what we know of Jesus and the kingdom continues to grow.

It can be easy for us to get discouraged when we look at our small part in God’s plan and seem to see so little by way of results. Yet God is at work in everything we do.

We have continue working and praying together for his kingdom, to be faithful in sowing seeds and trusting that God will make them grow in his own time. If what we do seems so small, we need to remember that we are part of God’s plan and he is growing a kingdom bigger than we can imagine.

I planted some bee orchid seeds two years ago. There’s no sign of anything yet. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait for the flower.

Prayer of confession:

God of all,
you do not force growth but nurture it.
Forgive us when we want too much too soon.

You do not start big but start small.
Forgive us when we want too much too soon.

You do not sow greedily but graciously.
Forgive us when we want too much too soon.

You do not hurry the harvest but hallow it.
Forgive us when we want too much too soon.

Forgive us,

and accept the work of our hands,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

A question to ponder over the coming week:

Where do you see God’s kingdom-values at work where you live?

Hymn:  StF 239

Sent by the Lord am I;
My hands are ready now
To make the earth a place
In which the kingdom comes.

The angels cannot change
A world of hurt and pain
Into a world of love,
Of justice and of peace.

The task is mine to do,
To set it really free.
O help me to obey;
Help me to do your will.

C: Paul Leddington Wright Words: 1991 Jorge Maldonado

Prayers of intercession:

Eternal, ever-present God,

visible and yet invisible,
we bring our prayers for those we know
and those unknown to us.
We seek to journey with you and with them,
to support and uphold them with prayer and love.

For those who journey with illness and pain,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those searching for meaning and purpose,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those wanting to belong and yet seemingly
always on the edge,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those who lack confidence in themselves,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those who have no faith, no vision for an eternal future,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those who live with lies, secrets and untruths,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

For those who live without the very basic foundations of life:
without food and water and homes,
transform them by your grace, Lord.

By praying for these, we know that we must walk and work
hand in hand with you, to relieve their suffering and pain.
We trust our prayers, our loving and our living, to your
almighty and eternal presence.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father…..


God is working his purpose out,
as year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near:
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever foot hath trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
goes forth the voice of God;
give ear to me, ye continents,
ye isles, give ear to me,
that earth may filled
with the glory of God
as the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,
with the banner of Christ unfurled,
that the light of the glorious gospel of truth
may shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
to set their captives free,
that the earth may be filled
with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth
unless God blesses the deed;
vainly we hope for the harvest-tide
till God gives life to the seed:
Yet nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

C Ainger (1841 – 1919) © Jubilate Hymns Ltd


Loving God,
you sent your Son into your world
to gather us all up into your kingdom.
Be with us, as we hear and respond to your call to do the same.
May the blessing of God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Be with us always.


We go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

 Prayers adapted from Rootsontheweb   CCL No: 57861