Sunday Eucharist prayers, readings and reflections are available below.
TRINITY VII SUNDAY 26th JULY
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.
- that the Holy Spirit will fill the church with wisdom and the courage to witness to God's vision for his creation.
- that God's Spirit will comfort, heal and bring hope to all laid low in body, mind or soul. We pray especially for the sick; Charlie Chesser, Otto Lein, Paul Evans, Marlies Kisch, Nicole Lewis and Gerald Lewis.
- that all who have died in the faith of Christ may rejoice in the heavenly kingdom.We pray for the souls of Bill Scott and Freddie Jackson, Priests.
"The Kingdom of heaven is like..." Mathew 13:31.
I have on a number of occasions visited the gardens of the Chateau at Villandry in the Loire Valley. I once went with Fr Peter Blackburn who had a small cave-like dwelling nearby. Villandry must be the most spectacular ornamental garden and potager in France. The gardens, with their box hedges enclosing serried ranks of lettuce, beans and cabbages, as well as flowers, are a terrific example of horticultural precision and professionalism.Peter loved this garden but his own, a mass of rambling and unkempt plants with vast impenetrable areas, could not have been more different! The creator of Villandry used to climb one of the towers of the chateau each morning and using a telescope make sure that no plants were out of line or that one had not been eaten overnight by a slug. The gardeners were instructed to make good any defects.Throughout the year there is a rigid timetable the gardeners have to follow.Seeds have to be planted at precisely the right time in the Spring. If hedge clipping is not complete by 15th March the whole Summer goes haywire!
The Gospel today tells of Jesus "sowing seeds", being a gardener, if you like. In nearly all his parables he "sows seeds"; seeds of wisdom and encouragement, of knowledge and confidence, which will grow in the hearts and minds of his hearers. They are seeds which if nurtured will flourish and be fruitful.
Typically he uses for his "seeds" everyday examples, things his listeners would recognise and know. There is the tiny seed which becomes a strong bush. The single cell of yeast that raises the bread. He tells of people who in their everyday surroundings spot real treasure which they value sufficiently to give up all else to gain. And he spoke of a huge sea-harvest, fish of every kind.
The "seeds" that Jesus is sowing here are seeds about the Kingdom of Heaven. He says that the tiniest amount of faith, if nurtured, will grow into something big and good. Faith is of great worth - beyond price in fact - something greatly to be desired, beyond our known measures of wealth. And the Kingdom is all-embracing, there is a place and room for all.
Jesus is "sowing seeds" and while he may have in sight the end product, he is, in the parables in today's Gospel, focusing on the starting point, the miniscule grain of yeast which acts to produce a loaf of bread.
Who first sowed the seed of faith in us? Did our faith come through what our family and friends and perhaps Godparents shared with us and rooted in us? Was it long sought after, or did it arrive as though unbidden? However we received it and however small and frail our faith sometimes seems it brings us into the kingdom.Recognise this small seed of faith working in us, helping us to grow in Christ, a single jewel, and small but precious treasure.Nurture it and share with others.