Prayers and Reflection for Trinity 7

Prayers at home for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

In today’s collect God is addressed as “the author and giver of all good things”, reminding us that the world exists because God planned and created it in the beginning.
Today we celebrate the gifts of creation and redemption and ask God to “graft in our hearts a love of your name”

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Acclamation

God is love, and those who abide in love, abide in God, and God abides in them. We love because he first loved us.
(1 John 4)
Heavenly Father, help us now,
to celebrate your love shown in the life of Jesus.
Following his example may we learn from your truth,
trust in your grace and grow strong in your service
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Penitence

Jesus said, “ You shall love the Lord you God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
So we confess that we have often failed to love God and our neighbour…….

Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned,
in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Collect and Readings.

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 your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1 Kings 3 : 5-12
Psalm 119 : 129-136
Romans 8 : 26-39
Matthew 13 :31-33, 44-52

Affirmation of Faith
We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.
We believe in one God, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Amen (from Ephesians 3)

Intercessions
God our Father we bring to you the needs of all your people…
We pray for all who govern the nations of the world and think particularly of those places where there is war or civil unrest. We remember too people divided by national enmity, religious intolerance or racial prejudice….
Lord Jesus where there is hatred let us sow love.
We pray for families and for employers and employees, remembering especially families, communities and workplaces where relationships have broken down…..
Lord Jesus where there is injury, let us sow pardon.
We pray for those who teach the Christian faith and for the life of our church. We think especially of those whose faith is being sorely tested at this time….
Lord Jesus, where there is doubt, let us sow faith.
We pray for all those who are overshadowed by loss or loneliness. We pray for those who are sick or in need, for their families and friends, their doctors, nurses and carers…
Lord Jesus, where there is despair, let us bring hope.
We think of ourselves and of our half-hearted attempts to serve you…..
Lord Jesus make us channels of your peace and witnesses of your Kingdom. Amen
Our Father….

(You might like to make the Act of Spiritual Communion now)

Loving Father, sustain us with your Spirit, that we may love and serve you here on earth until our joy is complete in heaven and we share in the eternal banquet with Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen

Reflection on the Gospel Reading for Trinity 7 – Matthew 13 : 31-33 & 44-52.

Today Jesus recommends that we pay attention to the small things of life. The essence of his parables today is that the Kingdom of God starts very small. It is like seed scattered on the ground. It is very tiny and appears to do nothing at first. Eventually if the farmer is patient it will grow into a substantial harvest.

Those who first heard Jesus speak of this would have been quite surprised that he spoke of the Kingdom or rule of God in this way. What would we expect the rule of God to look like? The people of Jesus’ day were used to being ruled by an absolute monarch – Caesar, the Roman Emperor, ruling from distant Rome through the authority of a local governor, efficient and ruthless. Caesar was the equivalent of a god, indeed there were times in roman history when he was worshipped as such. He was powerful and lived in unimaginable luxury he spoke and it was law.

The people of Jesus’ day knew exactly what a kingdom looked like. It was big, and grand and powerful. And if earthly kingdoms were like that how much more so God’s kingdom. When the ruler of the universe came to reign how terrible and grand that reign would be! There would be peals of thunder and flames of fire and myriads of angels. The earth and the sky would shake and God would appear in the clouds; too splendid for any human to look at.

So when Jesus speaks of the Kingdom it comes as a bit of surprise. Jesus’ Kingdom is smaller and quieter. It sneaks up like a thief in the night. It lies dormant in the soil waiting to sprout. It hides in ordinary people as they go about their everyday business. God’s reign is present everywhere, hidden, tiny, ordinary. It isn’t heralded by thunder and lightening. If you want to find it you have to be still and look very quietly, very carefully and very closely at little things.

Our world is fixated by size and success, everything must be bigger and better. In all areas of life there are targets to be met, the national economy is kick-started after lockdown; there are worries about declining numbers in churches. Jesus encourages to look for God working in little ways. Small acts of love and generosity that grow into warmth and community. The everyday kindness of people who serve others. Small groups of people whose prayers spread over their neighbourhoods. Small but important signs of God’s presence and his creative will.

It takes commitment and patience to see these small signs of God’s reign. It is important we recognise them. God’s kingdom will come. Jesus told us so. But it is also already here. He told us that too. It is the task of God’s people to look for the signs, and to nurture them, until the whole world sees God’s glory and God’s love.

“Keep the faith and do the little things you have seen and heard me do”
(Saint David of Wales)