Worship for Sunday 19th July

Weeds and Wheat


Prayer of Approach

We come to you, gracious God,
acknowledging that our life is filled
with both wheat and weeds.
Be gentle with us, and help us to help one another as we journey together,
that your kingdom may come and your will may be done,
here in our city, our communities and our lives,
now and always. Amen.

 StF 103 God is Love: Let Heaven Adore Him

God is Love: let heaven adore him;

God is Love: let earth rejoice;

let creation sing before him,

and exalt him with one voice.

He who laid the earth’s foundation,

he who spread the heavens above,

he who breathes through all creation,

he is Love, eternal Love.


God is Love: and he enfolding

all the world in one embrace;

with unfailing grasp is holding

every child of every race.

And when human hearts are breaking

under sorrow’s iron rod,

then they find that selfsame aching

deep within the heart of God.


God is Love: and though with blindness

sin afflicts each human soul,

God’s eternal loving-kindness

holds and guides and keeps them whole.

Sin and death and hell shall never

o’er us final triumph gain;

God is Love, so Love for ever

o’er the universe must reign.                                                       

Timothy Rees (1874 – 1939)

Prayers of adoration and confession

Almighty God, Creator of all life,
we come to you as part of your created order,
to offer with heart and mind and voice
our celebration of your love,
shown to us in Jesus Christ.

We use language to express the inexpressible.
We use thought to express the unthinkable.
We use mystery to express the unsearchable.
We are here with our language, thought and sense of the otherness,
expressing something of our confidence in you,
celebrating your confidence in us.

Lead us by your spirit to examine ourselves.
Give us courage to be honest.
We have not grasped the reality of your power within us,
we have not realised our potential.
We have been afraid of those who express opposing views,
too often we have lacked confidence in our own.
We are too willing to give space to others,
we do not concentrate on our own growth and development.
We like quick fixes to problems,
we are reluctant to leave them in your keeping.
Loving God, forgive us.      Christ, forgive us.

You are forgiven,
Knowing the confidence that God has in you,
go into the world, nourished by this love,
and be strong until the harvest comes. Amen.

(adapted from rootsontheweb.com)

 StF 158 Lord, you sometimes speak in wonders 

Lord, you sometimes speak in wonders,
unmistakable and clear;
mighty signs to prove your presence,
overcoming doubt and fear

O Lord, you sometimes speak in wonders.

Lord, you sometimes speak in whispers,
still and small and scarcely heard;
only those who want to listen
catch the all-important word.

O Lord, you sometimes speak in whispers.

Lord, you sometimes speak in silence,
through our loud and noisy day:
we can know and trust you better
when we quietly wait and pray.

O Lord, you sometimes speak in silence.

Lord, you love to speak in Scripture:
words that summon from the page,
shown and taught us by your Spirit
with fresh light for every age.

O Lord, you sometimes speak in Scripture.

Lord, you always speak in Jesus,
always new yet still the same;
teach us now more of our Saviour;
make our lives display his Name.

O Lord, you always speak in Jesus.                                                                 

Christopher Idle (b 1938)

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

24 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27 And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ 28 He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 

29 But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 30 Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!


I shivered when I saw the appointed gospel reading for today! As an on-trial local preacher I tackled it in 2005 and got myself into a huge theological tangle. I went back to my mentor, discussed the text and began to realise where I’d gone wrong. More of this later.

Looking back at my notes from 2005 I see that we were only a few days after the terrorist attacks across the tube network in London and the understanding of an enemy amongst us was pertinent and raw. Today in July 2020 we are acutely aware of Covid-19, as an another invisible enemy.

Gospel-writer Matthew tells us that Jesus is beside the Sea of Galilee, where great crowds gather on the beach. Jesus addresses them from a seat on a boat. His teaching is in the form of a series of agricultural illustrations beginning with the Parable of the Sower. In our reading for today, the Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field and then to their horror found the space invaded by weeds.

Wheat and darnel grew closely together and to the casual eye were inseparable. To remove one as they were growing would inevitable mean both being uprooted. Jesus says, they must be left to develop together.

This parable with its many strands leaves us with a feeling of unfinished business, of feelings of powerlessness. The kingdom of God is like a field which has yet to be harvested.

It comes as a shock to discover that despite our  best efforts the world is not an entirely trustworthy place. The world has places of wonder and beauty but places of cruelty and heartbreak too. We know this. We go to great lengths in our homes, our families, our community, church to ensure places of peace, harmony and good order. But despite our best efforts something, someone comes along and deliberately plants the seeds of weeds, of a plant that has the potential to destruct.

“Where did these weeds come?” from is a cry we recognise.

It is really important that we see the story as a whole rather than over-analysing weeds and wheat. (My mistake in 2005!)

Three points to ponder which emerge.

  • Acknowledging evil is present,
  • We are part of it and not separate from it
  • That the harvest is God’s

Jesus is asking us to wait, to be patient. There are definitely situations when acting fast is essential but other times when waiting, being patient, sometimes to allow a situation to be resolved by time and ultimately by God.

May God give us strength, wisdom and patience in the waiting.

God Bless, Deacon Pru

Reflective music

Love Theme – Ennio Moricone


Lord Jesus, give us the courage
to try and change only those things that you would have us change.
Lord, hear our prayer, and keep us in your love.

Lord Jesus, give us the grace
to accept difference and diversity.
Lord, hear our prayer, and keep us in your love.

Lord Jesus, give us the wisdom
to be patient with situations which irritate us.
Lord, hear our prayer, and keep us in your love.

Lord Jesus, give us the vision
to share in your vision that all the world may be one.
Lord, hear our prayer, and keep us in your love.

Lord Jesus, give us the strength
to work for healing in our own communities.
Lord, hear our prayer, and keep us in your love.

Loving Lord, hear our prayers
and let your Spirit prepare us with joy
for that great day when you will harvest
the seed that you have sown among us. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

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.


God is Working His Purpose Out        HP 769

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.


What can we do to work God’s work,

to prosper and increase

the love of God in all mankind,

the reign of the Prince of peace?

What can we do to hasten 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?


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.           

Arthur Campbell Ainger 1841-1919


May the glory of God the Creator be ours,

the glory of Christ the Redeemer be ours,

the glory of the Spirit, the Sanctifier be ours;

And the blessing of God Almighty.
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always.