Sunday 19th July – 6th Sunday after Trinity


Collect

Creator God,
you made us all in your image:
may we discern you in all that we see,
and serve you in all that we do;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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First Reading

Isaiah 44.6-8

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:  I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.  Who is like me?  Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me.  Who has announced from of old the things to come?  Let them tell us what is yet to be.  Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it?  You are my witnesses!  Is there any god besides me?  There is no other rock; I know not one.

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 Gospel

Matthew 13.24-30, 36-43

Jesus put before the crowd another parable:  ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away.  So when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared as well.  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?” He answered, “An enemy has done this.”   The slaves said to him, “Then do you want us to go and gather them?” But he replied, “No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them.  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.” ’

Then Jesus 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.’  He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.  Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  Let anyone with ears listen!’

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 Post Communion Prayer

God of our pilgrimage,
you have led us to the living water:
refresh and sustain us
as we go forward on our journey,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Trinity 6 2020 – Reflection

Once again we have an extensive reading from Matthew chapter 13, in which the evangelist has gathered together the parables of Jesus.  Contained in our reading is the well known parable of the wheat and the weeds, otherwise known as the wheat and the tares.

A bit of botany is helpful in understanding this parable. What Matthew most likely refers to is darnel, a noxious weed that closely resembles wheat and is plentiful in Israel. The difference between darnel and real wheat is evident only when the plants mature.  It can be easily understood why the land-owner instructs the labourers to remove the weed only at harvest-time, for to pull it out beforehand would probably uproot the wheat and thus destroy the crop. All this has implications for the lesson of the parable.

The kingdom of heaven on earth survives in the midst of a world which is tarnished by sin in its many forms.  For example their is personal sin and there is structural sin.  Structural sin proposes that we can have corporate responsibility for sinful actions that originate from social systems.

As Christians we have to work out how to cope with and not collude with the reality of sin around us. The parable also teaches that the time of the harvest will one day come, when God will take to himself those who have sought him by pursuing what is good and true, by living in faith, hope and love.

The human heart is sown with weeds and wheat in varying proportions. In some, the wheat outnumber the weeds, in others, the weeds outnumber the wheat.  Our deep love for God moves us to struggle so that more wheat will grow than weeds in our field.  Our prayers and actions nurture the wheat.  Prayers and submission to God’s will can greatly help us to discern the weeds from the wheat, the good from the evil. It is always a choice for us to transform, to repent and uproot our weeds.  God does not force His will upon us, but He is always ready to forgive our misgivings.  He accepts our weaknesses.  He does not give up on us.  He still hopes for our transformation.  Despite our imperfections He still believes in our innate goodness.  He gives us not only a second chance but countless chances to become better.

Jesus makes it clear that we simply cannot be certain who is “in” or who is “out.” In fact, God’s judgment about these matters will take many by surprise.  Thank God it is not up to us! We can leave the weeding to the angels, and get on with the mission Jesus has given us… proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God drawing near.

Amen