Reflections for Fifth Sunday after Trinity

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

 

Readings:

Isaiah 55:10-13

Psalm 119:105-112

Romans 8:1-11

Matthew 13:1-9

 

Collect

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.

The call today is to LISTEN!

The seed that fell on good soil brought forth grain – some hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold – Let anyone who has ears to hear, LISTEN!

And so, the well-known parable of the sower ends as it begins with that powerful imperative to LISTEN!

If you listen what do you hear?   

What do you think the people of the land who first listened to this parable of the kingdom heard?

Theirs was a community that not only knew how to tell stories, but also how to hear stories.

We might imagine the people being entertained by this story about the kingdom of God with its colourful imagery:

how they would see in their mind’s eye the sower with his arm swinging out and back and the precious seeds flying in the air……                  

Ah, yes, there we go – some of the seed is falling on the path……but, wait a minute, the birds are eating that…..

the seed is thrown again and it falls …… what, on rocky ground?

Then more seed is thrown ……. what, among thorns?

What do you think these people of the land would be hearing by now?

What kind of sower is this that pays no attention to where the seed falls – and so the interest is held, they are all listening now, laughing among themselves, this is a good story, let’s see what the Galilean is going to make of it now!

And then, some seeds fall on good soil…….

 

Finally, they think, we got it - this poor fellow has got the idea at last. He has found the good spoil and all his effort is not going to be completely wasted.

 

No, indeed, the story continues, the seeds that fell on good soil sprouted and some of them produced a hundredfold, some sixtyfold and some thirtyfold.

 

Ah, now, wait a minute – we knew that this sower did not know what he was doing by the way he was spreading the seed and paying no heed to where it fellbut this  just got way out – those proportions are simply not possible – the story makes no sense at all.

 

You can imagine the mutterings and the shaking of heads – but then,

 

LISTEN!

 

If you have ears to hear, what have you heard?

 

What have you heard about the kingdom of God?

 

Well, what do you hear?

 

The thing about parables is that they always have a twist, or a surprising ending; some sort of sting in the tail. They draw you in by presenting what you think at first sight is straightforward – ah, yes, you think, I know where this is going, yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it, but then if you listen in a way that means you begin to hear…….something isn’t quite right, not what you expected, like a little stone in your shoe, it keeps niggling.

 

This is one such story – and consider, this is a parable about the kingdom – about the way of God in and with us.

 

For me, it is an Epiphany story as it echoes the great Epiphany themes that reveal the presence of Christ in the world - universality, impartiality, the risk of  new creation, pilgrimage, the bearing of gifts (grace) and perhaps, most of all, abundance; an abundance that seems to be ‘profligate’, that is, recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of its resources - I love that!

 

So, I begin to hear that the parable of the sower reveals God of pilgrimage, risk and adventure – God who excludes no-one - not wise men, not Gentiles, not you and me, not seeds, predators, rocks and thorns – God of infinite mercy and self-giving love.

 

What do you hear?

 

LISTEN!

As we have a Benedictine Abbey in Chilworth, we cannot forget that

July 11th is the Feast Day of the founder of western monasticism,

Benedict of Nursia Abbot c. 550

 

And how appropriate, today, to find this exhortation of his:

Let us give thanks with and for our Abbey Brothers,

celebrating their Festival this weekend.

In a Benedictine community, the day is ordered around the sevenfold office (that is, prayers said seven times each day – ‘office’ coming from the Latin meaning ‘work’)

A day in the life of a modern Benedictine community might look like this:

5.30-6.00am     Vigil

6.00-6.30am     Meditation

6.30-7.10am     Lectio divina

7.15-7.40am     Morning Prayer

7.45-8.00am     Breakfast

8.00-9.00am     Tidying up/reading newspapers

9.00-9.40am     Mass

9.40-10.10am  Coffee with community and guests

10.10-12.00am  Work (e.g., wafer-baking, incense making, computer, accounts,   

                                         church work, domestic work)                                                                                     

12.00-12.15pm  Midday Office

12.15-12.45am  Lunch

12.45-1.30pm   Rest

1.30-4.00pm      Work (some monks employed in wider community)

4.00-4.30pm     Tea with community

 4.30-5.00pm    Tidying up

5.00-5.40pm     Evening Prayer

5.40-6.00pm     Evening News

6.00-6.30pm     Supper

6.30-8.00pm     Recreation/Study

8.00-8.30pm     Silent Prayer

8.30-8.50pm     Night Prayer

9.00-5.30am     Sleep

 

Think how the 24 hours of the day are divided.

Children might like to make their own 24-hour clocks to show what a monk does each day.

You might like to reflect on your own 24-hour clocks.

What do our days look like?

How does the way they are divided indicate our values and priorities?

Let us pray:                                     

God of abundant mercy and love, we bring to you:

the cries that fall on stony ground,

the labour that is harsh and unrewarding,

the resources that, though needed, are snatched away too soon,

the burdens that weigh heavily and choke,

all that is unseen and unheard.

God of abundant mercy and love, we bring to you:

the wonder and beauty of creation,

the adventure and risks of life,

the journeys of discovery and renewal,

the beginnings and the endings in you,

all that we have seen and heard in our hearts.

 

Here is a prayer you could say, with Shere parish, joining in with them as they light a candle on Sunday evenings:

As I light this candle:

Creator God, surround my home with the warmth of your love.

Fire of the Spirit, burn within me.

Light of Christ, shine from me. Amen.

 

The sacred Three be over me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Keep protection near, and danger afar.
Keep hope within, keep doubt without.
The sacred Three encircle me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Keep peace within, keep evil out.
Keep light near, and darkness afar.
The sacred Three indwelling me, the blessing of the Trinity.
Amen

 

Merciful Father,

accept these and all our prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

THE PEACE

The dayspring from on high has dawned upon us,

to give light to those who dwell in darkness

and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.  Amen.

 

 

THE BLESSING

The peace of God go with you wherever you travel,

the power of God protect you in every journey,

the Spirit of God strengthen you for every task;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.  Amen.

 

Stephanie Sokolowski            11/7/20

Please note that the above is not referenced.

It is sent to congregation members for personal use only!