Worship at Home

Worship for 26th July 2020

Secrets of the Kingdom – Parable of the Mustard Seed

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Sunday 26th July 10:30 AM

(or whenever you wish)

This week’s message has been prepared by Deacon Richard Beckett.

This short act of worship is for use from home.  Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.

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Take a few quiet moments to focus on God’s promises and read Psalm 119:129-136 (below)

Bible Reading

Psalm 119:129-136

פ Pe

129 Your statutes are wonderful;
    therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
    that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
    and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
    for your law is not obeyed.

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Pray:

Lord, as we enter your holy presence this morning, help us to be ready to hear again about your kingdom. Come, open our hearts and minds
to see the kingdom around us and within us.
Come, and worship the living God.
Amen.

Hymn: The King is among us (SOF 532)

The King is among us, His Spirit is here,
Let’s draw near and worship,
Let songs fill the air.

He looks down upon us, delight in His face,
Enjoying His children’s love,
Enthralled by our praise.

For each child is special, accepted and loved,
A love gift from Jesus, to His Father above.

And now He is giving, His gifts to us all,
For no one is worthless, and each one is called.

The Spirit’s anointing, on all flesh comes down,
And we shall be channels, for works like his own.

We come now believing, your promise of power,
For we are your people, and this is your hour.

The King is among us, his Spirit is here,
Let’s draw near and worship,
Let songs fill the air.

Graham Kendrick

We Pray:
Lord God, as we gather in this place,
we thank you for your presence, here with us.
Thank you, Lord, that each one of us is unique, yet we share a common bond in you.
We come together as one body,
but we all learn and experience things in different ways.
We thank you for your amazing word
that gives us so many pictures of your kingdom.
Something for everyone,
something to feed our hearts and minds.
Be with us, Lord, and bless us richly as we call upon your name.
Amen.

Bible Reading

Matthew 13: 31-33 & 44-52

The parables of the mustard seed and the yeast

31 He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’

33 He told them still another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.’

The parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl

44 ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

The parable of the net

47 ‘Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

51 ‘Have you understood all these things?’ Jesus asked.

‘Yes,’ they replied.

52 He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.’

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Richard reflects on the passage:

So we hear these five parables of Jesus about seeds, yeast, treasure, pearls and fishing net and sometimes we are very quick to make up our minds as to what they are about and we might say something like: Yes, these are messages about what things are most important in life: what is so important to you that you would give up everything else to get it?; the best things in life take some searching for; the best things in life are not always the first things you see; the most amazing things start from the smallest beginnings and so on.

 

And of course all of this is true however this teaching of Jesus is not teaching about life skills or well-being or values (Not that those are not important) it is teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Jesus never defined exactly what he meant by the Kingdom of Heaven. But he certainly did explain through parable and story.

Matthew uses the term “Kingdom of Heaven”, because to a devout Jew, the word ‘God’ was far too sacred to be used lightly and often.
Mark and Luke prefer to use the term ‘Kingdom of God’

So we could say that the Kingdom of Heaven is wherever God’s reign is active in the world.

Where God’s will is done, with perfect submission, that is where God’s Kingdom is.

 

So a focus for a moment on the parable of the mustard seed reminds us that God’s Kingdom will grow with us involved but sometimes without us!

Because as with all things God does, the growth of the Kingdom is a gift of grace.

That’s not a reason of course to sit back and wait and do nothing because God invites us to be part of that growth, some of which will happen in our own personal lives.

The paradox is that the growth of God’s reign could mean a ‘smaller’ church but one which is renewed, less administratively burdened, less building centred and more God-centred.

 

There is something miraculous about this growth and some possible humour in Jesus’ parable too about the mustard seed because as I understand it the Judean seed  only usually grows into a bush, not a tree as Jesus goes on to suggest, and certainly not a tree big enough for birds to come and nest in!

 

There are many modern day real-life parables we could use: The most obvious perhaps might go something like this: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who decided to walk 100 laps of his garden to celebrate his 100th birthday with a target of £1000 and raised over £32 million for the NHS.

 

This is the miracle of growth Jesus talked about – and it will happen!

Hymn: StF 46 – Everlasting God

Everlasting God,
The years go by but You’re unchanging,
In this fragile world,
You are the only firm foundation.
Always loving always true,
Always merciful and good, so good

Yesterday today and forever,
You are the same You never change.
Yesterday today and forever,
You are faithful and we will trust in You.
We will trust in You.

Uncreated One,
You have no end and no beginning.
Earthly powers fade,
But there is no end to Your kingdom.
Always loving always true,
Always merciful and good, so good.

Yesterday today and forever…..

Yahweh, God unchanging.
Yahweh, firm foundation.
Yahweh, God unchanging.
Yahweh, firm foundation.
Yesterday today and forever,
You are the same, You never change,
Yesterday today and forever.
You are faithful and we will trust in You.
We will trust in You, we will trust in You,
Faithful God.

Prayers of Intercession:

(pause after each sentence and make a link with Jesus’ parables in todays reading)

  • Lord, we pray for those who can only think about feeding their family from the seeds they plant.
  • For those who yearn for growth in basic income when others seem to squander theirs on luxury.
  • For those whose entire ‘treasure seeking’ focuses on finding employment.
  • For those whose thoughts this day are consumed by grief for the loss of a treasured friend or loved one.

And for ourselves, keep us from being a stumbling block to those who would seek you; from using language that puzzles; from actions that confuse; from anything that keeps us apart from your people around us.

Your kingdom come, O Lord.
Your will be done.  Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Please use the version that you prefer

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.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.

Amen.

StF 782 – Thuma mina (Send me Lord)

Thuma mina, thuma mina,
thuma mina, Somandla.

Send me Jesus, send me Jesus,
Send me Jesus, send me Lord.

Lead me, Jesus. Lead me Jesus.
Lead me Jesus, lead me Lord.

Fill me Jesus, fill me Jesus,
Fill me Jesus, fill me Lord.

I will go Lord, I will go Lord,
I will go Lord, I will go.      

(South African traditional)

Closing Prayer:
Lord, as we go on our way this week,
whether in town or country, inside or outside,
among people or on our own,
alert us to signs of your kingdom.
Even when we can only see a small patch of sky out of a window,
remind us of the possibilities of your kingdom.
Amen.

Message and Worship sheet by Deacon Richard Beckett.
Some material from Roots resources.  

Webpage: Paul Deakin