14.06.20 – Ask The Lord Of The Harvest To Send Out Labourers Into His Harvest

Gathering and Greeting

O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Give us the joy of your saving help
and sustain us with your life-giving Spirit.

We have come together in the name of Christ
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God’s holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.

Blessed is the Lord,
for he has heard the voice of our prayer;

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy
and in our song will we praise our God.

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Hymn

All My Hope On God Is Founded

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Prayers of Penitence

God our Father,
we come to you in sorrow for our sins.
For turning away from you,
and ignoring your will for our lives;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish,
without thinking of you;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do,
and think and say;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For letting ourselves be drawn away from you
by temptations in the world about us;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

For living as if we were ashamed
to belong to your Son;
Father, forgive us: save us and help us.

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Reading

Matthew 9.35 – 10.8
The harvest is great, the labourers are few.

35Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

The twelve apostles

10Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

The mission of the twelve

5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

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Thought for the Day

How has your week been? Perhaps like me, you have had a fairly ordinary week. What does ordinary conjure up for you? A familiar routine of work, some free time for leisure, meeting family and friends through the various apps, zoom meetings, meeting in someone’s garden now the restrictions are easing a little. All pretty ordinary stuff. And sometimes doing these ordinary everyday things is what keeps us grounded.

The church year has entered a period called Ordinary Time, a time when there are no special feasts or seasons, a time that goes from Trinity Sunday throughout the summer and autumn until All Souls Day at the beginning of November. A time to concentrate on ordinary everyday life. If our lives were a continual round of celebration we would soon burn out and so this Ordinary Time is important for us.

The trouble seems to be these days that life is anything but ordinary. We are still in the middle of a pandemic which is challenging our notions of ordinary. And the last two weeks have seen marches and protests and the BLM movement raising awareness of how we value all people regardless of the colour of their skin.

In Matthew’s gospel we hear Jesus going about his ordinary everyday business; teaching his disciples, encouraging them to go out and tell others the ‘good news’, teaching the crowds who had gathered round curious to hear what he has to say, healing and curing those with disease and sickness.

For Jesus, these are normal ordinary, everyday actions. With so many crowds wanting his attention Jesus is in need of help and who better than his disciples?

He turns to them and says ‘go on, off you go, go and teach and heal in my name. All you need will be given to you, go and spread the good news.’ As though it was the most ordinary of requests!

What qualifications did they have? None.
Were they up to such a responsible task? Probably not.
Did it stop them from going out? No.

Jesus gives the disciples the authority to go and carry this work out on his behalf. He turns to us too, encouraging us to go out like the disciples as labourers (however few we are) and bring in the harvest.

What qualifications do we have? None.
Are we up to such a responsible task? Probably not.
Should that stop us from trying? Definitely not!

We are Jesus’ labour force of 2020 and whether we are 8 or 80 there is work to do. What that work might be will depend on personal circumstances. From volunteering in the community to collecting food for the food bank collections, to chatting to others on the phone, to supporting charitable causes. Your way of going into the world may be different but it is still important and it is what Jesus asks us to do. To go into the world and love as God loves us, to reach out to the poor and sick, to support those who have no home, to show compassion and love to all.

During the pandemic, we have witnessed the very best in human nature through the dedicated work of doctors, nurses, care workers and all on the front line. The capacity to love and to help others knows no bounds. You may be one of those and to you, we say a heartfelt ‘thank you.’

And in the last couple of weeks, there have been protests in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police, not just in America but throughout the world. Yes, there has sadly been violence, but let that not take away from all those who have demonstrated peacefully.

These are not ordinary times and for many of us there is a sense of helplessness, despair even as we watch events unfold from afar. You may have been affected or you may know people caught up in these events. We have wept at the loss of lives, we share in the grief of those who have lost loved ones. We have been upset and at times appalled at the scenes that fill our TV screens.

But we also stand in awe and wonder at the compassion, the selfless giving shown by so many. We also rejoice at how people have come together to help those in desperate need.

Jesus calls us to continue to do his work. How might you respond to him and share the good news in the these very un-ordinary times?

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Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

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.

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Prayers

A time of free prayer for you to bring before God your cares and concerns for the world, the church and for all people, for those in any kind of need and for those who have died. Especially on our minds is the Covid-19 pandemic and for all affected by it and that a swift end may be in sight. And for the tensions and injustices of the world, praying for a healing of resentment between peoples.

The Collect

God of truth,
help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Hymn

Colours of Day

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