Sunday Reflection 26.7.20

Sunday Morning Reflection   26.7.20    Seeds giving more

Good Morning , I am Karen Harbison, the Minister of Westburn Parish Church , Greenock and I am glad to welcome you  to this time of worship. Everyone is welcome, whether you are often at Westburn Parish Church, or whether you have never been there in person before. Everyone is welcome as we, each in our own places, our own homes, come to worship God.

Opening words

 Leader: A tiny seed planted can grow to a mighty tree.

 All: In small numbers we worship today, but as part of a mighty Church worldwide.

Leader: A tiny bit of yeast can make the loaf rise.

All: Tempted to feel small and alone, we rise to worship, part of a greater whole.

Leader: Wondering at the worth of our presence and praise at home,

All: we worship today offering what combined treasures we have.

Let us worship God  – Hymn 343

 Let us pray

You grace our gatherings, large or small, with the beauty of your presence, embracing our clumsy attempts to honour you, Lord of all. We thank you that you look on us with love and lift our humanity, and that you look on the ways we fail you and one another in grace and forgiveness. God, as those who know ourselves forgiven, loved and called to serve, may we affirm one another, building each other up to seek to serve you, great God of all. And so, may our worship here enable us to fix our eyes on you, equipping us for your mission in our neighbourhood and throughout the world, in Jesus’ name we pray and we pray together as he taught

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 debts

as we forgive our debtors.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil

for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

Now and forever

Amen

We continue reading from Matthew’s gospel chapter 13 and we hear some short parables Jesus told, each hinting at, revealing something of God’s kingdom.

We could think of each of these short parables as a tiny shard of coloured glass through which to view the kingdom, each shard lending a different colour , a different perspective. Seeds that grow into sheltering trees, yeast that ferments and leavens the dough, treasure and pearls and nets, all worth ditching everything else in order to secure. So many ways of describing the indescribable, putting the pieces together still doesn’t produce a whole but perhaps the knowledge of such a multi-layered phenomenon will serve to remind us of the enormity and  mystery of the Kingdom of God.

So let us hear the Word of God

Today  Jennifer Boag will read for us.

Bible Reading – Matthew 13: 31 – 33, 44 – 52

Reflection

In these short parables we have tiny shards of coloured glass, facets of a many sided gem , pieces of a mosaic which help us to see different aspects of the kingdom of God. Jesus  gave pictures which helped those he was talking to get a glimpse of that kingdom… a mustard seed, yeast, treasure, a pearl, a net , each parable, each picture engaging the imagination, provoking questions, encouraging conversation and pondering on the  nature of God’s kingdom which would take those hearing the parables all the days of their living to explore, to grow in understanding more and more of its depths and to work for through actions, words , values and attitudes. This kingdom that Jesus was talking about was very different to the kingdom of Rome all around the people at that time.

Jesus spoke of the mustard seed, something small which at first seemed like a weed and on which people would trample and yet something which changed and grew until it became a place of shelter. Jesus spoke about yeast, hardly able to be seen and yet which changed the dough so that it could rise . Jesus spoke about treasure, hidden and unseen but precious and a pearl, small but not insignificant, both of which were worth giving up so much else for. Jesus spoke about a net, being cast beneath the surface of what was visible and yet able to be filled with that which was nourishing and good.

Jesus spoke to the people and in his time and yet his words still speak  to us ,today . Jesus calls us to see the possibility of the kingdom come even in those things and people many do not think much of or rate highly. Jesus calls us to build the kingdom in everyday care for those around us. Jesus calls us to seek out the worth and beauty of life , of others, of all that we are given so generously to enjoy. Jesus calls us to cast our nets wide and deep that our catch might be great and many fed and nourished. And the kingdom Jesus talks about is still very different to the kingdoms all around us.

Where will God’s kingdom be found? In the acts of everyday people, who see and respond to an opportunity, to make a difference in their neighbourhood; those who create beauty, by eschewing what is deemed right and proper, choosing, instead: to take risks, to make music, to dance, to respond to the rhythm that is all around… Attuned to the rhythm of God, our senses are awakened: to the gifts and the needs of our neighbour. And there and here and in people and places which still surprise us, will God’s kingdom be found.May we glimpse a  tiny coloured shard of glass, a facet of a gem, a piece of the mosaic, a story  which nudges us to act and speak and think and move that God’s kingdom may come. Amen

Let us pray

God, in every time and season, you are teaching us more about ourselves and about you. May we always be open to discovering new ways of seeing, and new ways of serving you, God of all the ages. May we know that nothing is hidden from you, and that nothing is foreign. You know and embrace the ordinary times and the extraordinary times. And what is more, you lead us through whatever we face. God, in the midst of chaos and fear, may we see you quietly at work and calling us to follow. May we lighten one another’s burden however we can: by connecting, by listening, by being the neighbours you invite us to be. May we bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s grief. And, in time, may we rejoice together in your love. Lord, we may not know the way ahead, but we do know that you are with us and will never leave us. May that assurance help us to face all that we must face, and strengthen us to continue to step out in faith, holding the Christ light for one another, knowing that you are with us and you go before us always.

Today we hear a traditional South African song  -Mayenziwe ntando yakho which means ‘Your will be done on earth O Lord, – a song which is a prayer for God’s kingdom to come. And as we hear the song we see images of rocks from the rock caterpillar at Tayport , images which make us pause and think about the kinds of actions and words and attitudes which will help that to happen, images painted in response to being in lockdown due to Covid-19

Blessing

Take the smallest seed and produce life

Add yeast to the bread of life and it will grow

Find the hidden treasure in your life and invest all you have in living for God

Cast your net wide and haul in the catch

All these blessings and more are yours from God

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

There for you today and always

Amen

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