12th July 2020
Weekly notices, Church at Home & watch live
(Scroll down for this week's service)
Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower at Sunset, Oil on canvas, 1888; Kröller-Müller Museum
Sunday, 10.30am at St James'
We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team. Let us know you're coming if you can!
Still at home? Watch the service live on Facebook! (don't worry - you do not need a facebook account to watch it)
Weekly resources from 'Roots' for families to use to reflect on the Bible readings each week.
Let us know you're coming if you can!
10.30am at St James'
We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team.
If you can, please let us know you're coming to help with contact tracing. But don't let it stop you coming if you haven't signed up - we can still take your name on the door.
We will only keep the info for 21 days.
Pub Quiz Round 2!
Thursday 16th July, 8pm
After the success of the last quiz, join us once more to test your knowledge in our newly named online pub 'The Father's Arms'!
Cranes for Peace
Help us make 75 origami cranes to mark 75 years
since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to support CND's campaign for peace.
You can make them at home, we have some simple instructions to follow and we hope to make a display at St James' when they are all finished.
New ramp and toilets for the Venerable Bede
In light of current circumstances, we are ensuring faculties are posted publicly online as well as physically outside the church. You can read the faculty notice on that page and and objections may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can now submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.
Help keep our work going and our buildings open.
If you can, please give by standing order - regular donations help us to have a better estimate of our income and ensure we can keep our activities running.
Fifth Sunday after Trinity
Reflection by The Revd David Kirkwood
Service led by The Revd Dominic Coad
We will worship in church at 10.30am
or listen and read along here:
The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge on the presence of God.
Extract from There was a Most Beautiful Lady by Herbert Howells.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.
Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice,
and confess our sins to God our redeemer.
God be gracious to us and bless us,
and make your face shine upon us:
Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)
May your ways be known on the earth,
your saving power among the nations:
Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.)
You, Lord, have made known your salvation,
and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:
Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)
May the Father forgive us
by the death of his Son
and strengthen us
to live in the power of the Spirit
all our days. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
A reading from Paul's letter to the Romans.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God
Alleluia, alleluia. The word of the Lord endures for ever. The word of the Lord is the good news announced to you.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you O Lord
Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!
Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’
(Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ!
by The Revd David Kirkwood
May I speak, and may we all have ears to hear, in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
We are coming to the end of what has been very strange school term and after weeks home schooling, I guess many parents may be feeling how much we owe to our dedicated teachers. It maybe even some of their pupils have been missing their teachers too, well maybe just a little bit. Can you remember a favourite teacher? Perhaps you didn’t get on with any of them, but maybe you can remember one you learnt a lot from despite that. What was special about that particular teacher? What is it that makes a good teacher? What is it that gets the best out of us? In today’s gospel we see Jesus teaching and we get to hear some of what he said. It is striking what a good teacher he is. No wonder crowds flocked to hear him, so many that he has to teach from the boat while they crowd the seashore. We are told elsewhere he ‘taught with authority’ and ‘not like the scribes’ whom the people were used to hearing. In part that is a reference to the signs and healings that accompanied his teaching, but it is more than that. In John’s gospel Jesus says, ‘we speak of what we know’. Isn’t that one of the essentials of good teaching? The teacher must know his subject intimately and Jesus does indeed know of what he speaks. It doesn’t take long, though, to work out that knowledge alone does not make a good teacher. The teacher must know the subject, but more than that, must make us feel we can share that knowledge too. Even if we can’t share it all, the good teacher inspires us with a sense of how we can go on to learn even more, and a desire to do so. The teacher builds a bridge between our ignorance and their knowledge and enables us to walk on it. How does Jesus build that bridge? One key component is the parable. Parable is really just a posh word for story. Jesus teaches with stories. Not long complicated stories, just short simple stories. Simple stories that take the familiar everyday world with the things and processes and personalities that would be instantly recognisable; from the farm; the market; the home, but then use them to shed light on things that are not so well known, the mystery of God and His Kingdom. Jesus puts these things within the peoples reach and gently leads them on. It is always respectful, never a question of spoon feeding or patronising them. Jesus puts his hearers in touch with profound and challenging realities. He knows there isn’t a box of learning outcomes that can simply be ticked once the lesson is delivered, nothing is automatic. ‘Let anyone with ears listen!’
Learning in Jesus’ school can only take place where there is the real desire to learn, those who haven’t got ears to hear won’t hear and won’t learn. The teacher can only take the pupil so far and that is something the disciples as well as the crowd will need to face.
So, let’s try and open our ears and have a closer listen to today’s story. What is it all about?
Well on the face of it, in part, it is about just that, the need to have ears to hear, about being receptive or not being receptive.
Thinking of teaching methods I can still remember as a primary schoolboy being given a piece of paper told to fold it into four and then being told this story and asked to draw a picture in each quarter of the page. One picture for each of the four different soils in the story.
I should also say that the teacher took the time to mime the way the sower would have sown the seed, not by machine, but by hand, from a basket slung over his shoulder. It helps also to know that the first century farming technique employed was not first to plough and then sow the seed, but to sow first and then plough in. It is not a story about an incompetent farmer.
We are used to split screens now rather than bits of paper so I wonder if, as I describe each scene, you can conjure up and hold the four pictures in your mind’s eye. As you do, in each case, ask first ‘How could this apply to the life of the church today?’ and secondly ‘How could this apply personally to me’?
1) The path – least receptive, those who haven’t any ears to hear, the seed bounces off, there is no point of entry and the birds carry it away before anything can happen.
2) The stony ground- those who hear willingly they are so glad to hear the message, but there is not enough soil, nothing takes root, there may be ears to hear, but not to persevere, trouble, persecution, maybe just inconvenience impede lasting growth. What appeared to be receptive was only on the surface not deep into the heart.
3) Among thorns – again the word is welcomed but then the cares of the world and the lure of wealth come in, distractions abound, things to avoid, things to chase after, and gradually before we know it these things fill the heart and imperceptibly no room is left for the word.
4) The good ground-‘He who has ears to ear let him hear,’ ‘He who hears these words of mine and acts upon them’ Hearing is followed by understanding and perseverance, the grain matures, bears fruit and comes to a rich harvest.
Did you find examples either from our life together as church or individually? Were you encouraged or discouraged? We would want to be the good soil and must endeavour to be like it, welcoming the word and sticking with it, not being put off by inconvenience or distracted by other things. We would like to be but, if we are honest, we see all too often, the hard path or stony ground or thorny patches.
But before we get too downhearted let’s look at the story again, it is not for nothing that it is known not as ‘the parable of the soils’ but ‘of the Sower’
Forget the explanation given the disciples, for whatever reason, possibly their own hardness of heart, let’s go back to the simple story that Jesus set before the crowd
The kingdom of God is like this, a sower goes out to sow. He sows seed on the path, the birds eat it up. He sows seed on stony ground, the seed springs up fast but sun soon withers it. He sows seed among thorns, it is choked and dies. He sows seed on good soil, there is a harvest, a wonderful harvest as much as a hundred times what was sown.
How is the kingdom of God like this? What a lot of wasted labour, what setbacks, what failures, what fruitless efforts. Take heart, the sower will have his harvest, and what a harvest it will be.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isa 55: 11-12
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Those called to lead and guide us at a difficult time.
Stephen Cottrell, newly confirmed Archbishop of York
Christine, Bishop of Newcastle
All churches returning to worship today or preparing to open soon. For wisdom and safety.
All still unable to attend church and feel cut off from the fellowship and sacramental life of the church.
Theological educators and colleges
For teachers, schools and pupils
those in government, and those faced by difficult decisions.
Those facing uncertain futures and loss of work or income.
Families struggling at home.
Victims of bullying and domestic violence
Places whose health services are most vulnerable and undeveloped.
An end to inequality. A more sustainable use and equitable allocation of the world’s resources.
Medical staff and health professionals including all working in mental health
The Sick & Suffering
All who have asked for our prayers
All affected by Covid19
Those we have known and loved and whose examples we cherish.
All victims of Covid 19.
Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
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.
Listen to the music here:
O thou who camest from above the fire celestial to impart, kindle a flame of sacred love on the mean altar of my heart!
There let it for thy glory burn with inextinguishable blaze, and trembling to its source return in humble prayer and fervent praise.
Jesus, confirm my heart's desire to work, and speak, and think for thee; still let me guard the holy fire, and still stir up the gift in me.
Ready for all thy perfect will, my acts of faith and love repeat; till death thy endless mercies seal, and make the sacrifice complete.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore. Amen
Chanson Napolitaine by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.