Assistive Reading Version

Worship at home

by John Hinton : Week Beginning 16th June 2024

Sowing seeds of love


Call to Worship:

Jesus told those who would listen that the kingdom of God is like the smallest of seeds which grows into the largest of all the garden plants.

As we come together in worship let us open ourselves to the limitless potential of God's Spirit to bring life and growth.

Let us also be open to the signs of God's kingdom among us and within us.

Hymn:  StF 255:

The Kingdom of God

https://youtu.be/YD2bnZt9GWM?si=mbb4AbSfG2NMa-M1



Prayer of Confession:

God, whose ways are often mysterious and hidden, forgive us when we fail to see you at work.

When we feel discouraged, as if nothing we do makes any difference: give us patience to wait and hope to trust in you.

When we fail to listen to you, uncertain of what you are saying to us: give us patience to wait and hope to trust in you.

When we are discontented and restless, weighed down and anxious: give us patience to wait and hope to trust in you.

When your ways are mysterious, and signs of growth are hidden: give us patience to wait and hope to trust in you. Amen


Lord’s Prayer


Message:

Mother Theresa was a diminutive figure standing at only 5 feet tall, but she achieved mighty things!

I remember reading that she was once asked how she had achieved so much in helping the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. She replied that without God she could have achieved nothing, with God she could achieve everything! That speaks to today’s appointed gospel reading:

Mark 4:26-34

Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom, but not by giving us a detailed description. Rather, he used images and parables -  the Kingdom of God is a bit like this… or that…. or this!

I think it is rather well put in the local preacher training course that I did many years ago (yes, believe it or not, I have been trained!) "Looking for the Kingdom must have seemed to the disciples like a treasure hunt without a map!  Offering no blueprint he invited his hearers to look around them and try to discover it for themselves".

So, what can we discover in today’s reading? Well perhaps Jesus is telling us that, while the Kingdom of God is not dependant on the activities of humanity, we do have a significant role to play in it’s growth. “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground” and ….”It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground”.  Our job in the story is to scatter and sow the seeds which God then uses to grow the Kingdom.

I remember once leading all age worship on the theme “You’re all Picked”, in it we thought about:

The disciples and how, despite their flaws and human limitations, despite their betrayals and denials, their doubts and their frailties, they were the foundation of a church through which the Kingdom grew.

We thought about the story of the boy with the basket containing a few loaves and fishes, and how Jesus blessed what he had and used it to feed hundreds of people.

We thought about the Old Testament story of Jonah and how, when he was asked by God to do a job he felt incapable of doing, ran away in the opposite direction… and how when - after a bit of reflection in the stomach of a whale! -  he finally did do what God asked him to do. God then used his words to save a city.

It seems to me that today’s parable of the Kingdom touches on the same theme. How the little that we have to offer can be used by God in ways far, far beyond what we could imagine.

The seeds that we sow are blessed by God and from them the Kingdom grows….. but we need to sow the seeds in the first place!

How many times have we encountered situations when what seems a small gift by the giver means a great deal to the recipient, like when a short phone call makes somebody’s entire day. But the gift needs to be given, the phone call needs to be made!!

So that’s the challenge to us. When faced with so much need (both globally and personally) we can feel incapable of doing very much. But we are called to do what little we can – to sow our seeds of love – and our faith calls us to trust in a God who will take those seeds and use them to grow the Kingdom.

Hymn: StF 707

 Make me a channel of your peace

https://youtu.be/g8eorCEMIK4?si=Ct9pC0AOuIGG2QBd


Prayer of Intercession:

Lord God, we look around your world. We see the need

The hunger, the poverty, the disease. And we feel so powerless

Help us not to freeze into inaction but to do what little we can

We sow our seeds of love
Use them to grow your kingdom

Lord God, we look close to hand.
We see the need

People who are ill, people who are sad, people who are lonely, people who are bereaved

And we don’t know what to do or say.
But take and use our inadequate words and uncertain actions

We sow our seeds of love
Use them to grow your kingdom

Encourage us not to be overwhelmed but to have confidence in your power and ability to take what little we do and turn it into a powerful witness to your love.
Use us to build your kingdom

We sow our seeds of love
Use them to grow your kingdom

We offer this prayer in the name of your son who taught us about the Kingdom and showed us how to love

Amen


Hymn: StF 256

When I needed a neighbour

https://youtu.be/RYWUzoOQ7ls?si=_8vf13CquhTNJvs-


Blessing:

May the peace of God enfold us

The love of God uphold us and

The wisdom of God direct us.

Amen



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