Online Services by Rev'd Chris & Bible Study

Sunday 26th July Service

This week our video comes from St Peter's church. I hope you enjoy it! There is a transcript of the homily attached below (Matthew 13;31-33, 44-52 docx

Recently the government relaxed the restrictions on worship and churches are now allowed can begin as follows;

On Sunday 2nd August there will be a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am in All Saints', Lydd and each Sunday thereafter.
On Thursday 6th August there will be a service of Holy Communion at 9.30am in All Saints', Lydd and each Thursday thereafter.

Numbers will be limited and the worship will occur in the chancel and at the high altar.

I will put together for next week a video showing people how we can resume worship safely 

Services in St Peters will resume once work at the new hall has been completed and the church is ready. I will keep you updated. But it will good to worship together again;

 

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving

    and his courts with praise;

    give thanks to him and praise his name. " (Psalm 100 v4)

 

Once again, please have a safe week, keep safe and keep praying for one another.

Blessings

 

Matthew 13;31-33, 44-52

Today’s gospel reading is something of a mish-mash. Five parables seemingly crushed into one block; the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, then it’s like yeast, then treasure hidden in a field, then a merchant seeking a fine pearl and then like a net thrown into the sea. Five parables, a fifth of the parables in Matthew’s gospel, all rammed together in one short reading.

And then Jesus, in verse fifty-one, says to the crowd “Have you understood all this?” They answered “Yes”. Really?

Do you ever get those moments when you’ve asked someone for directions and they start listing streets; turn left, turn right, straight on to the Black Bull and so on – and when they finish, they said “Did you get that?” and you simply say “Yes.” Was that what happened?

Did the crowd understand? I somehow doubt it. But sometimes when you’re trying to hear someone, and you want to hear someone, it doesn’t always sink in – although you really, actually do want to listen. If you want proof of that you need only ask my wife.

But I think there is something deeper at work in all this. We know Jesus is a nice guy; all our pictures have him holding lambs and being nice to children. He talks constantly about love so maybe we are hearing his message but nothing is really going in. We’re not really listening.

But we really ought to. Because it is an important message and we need to hear it. Listen again to the parables; the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed..its the smallest of all the seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest!

What about the kingdom of heaven is like yeast? A woman takes small amount, adds it to flour and it is transformed?

These are innocent, and perhaps familiar enough images but have you grasped the enormity of what Jesus is saying? The kingdom of heaven is going to radically transform things. It is an out of control force for good that is going to rip things up and tear things apart.

Years ago I used to brew home brewed beer and wine. It wasn’t always successful. Yeast is a mighty powerful force which can cause chaos and destruction. And anyone with large trees and shrubs in their garden knows the power of roots to break things apart. Mustard seed and yeast can seem such innocent things – but they have extraordinary powers.

Is the kingdom of heaven going to be disruptive and unsettling? Yes.  What Jesus is telling them is the kingdom of heaven is going to set this world on its head; the world it to be governed and controlled by a new set of ethics and rules and for all our social and political interaction to be transformed almost completely. But we should be ready for that.

The Church of England has, for many years formulated a policy that the Mission of the Church is the mission of Christ and that it is founded on five key principles; 1) To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, 2) To teach, baptise and nurture new believers, 3) To respond to human need by loving service – these first three seem innocent enough and I reckon all of us can embrace these principles quite comfortably without too much disruption. But what about the other two?  4)To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation, and 5) To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth. These aren’t won easily. These five marks of mission (as they are called) are what ‘we the church’, and ‘we the followers of Christ’, are called to do. But to challenge unjust structures or challenging violence? Are we up for that? What about Black Lives Matter? It’s an issue that has been much under the spotlight as deep questions are being asked about racism deeply ingrained into areas of our daily lives. We have all had to look deep at aspects of our culture that continue to reinforce it. But also, our country’s attitude to things like foreign aid, investment and intervention aren’t always squeaky clean either. Last year thousands of people, and many from faith-based groups, added new urgency to the issue of climate change and the environment. We recognise we have to do more to safeguard the integrity of creation. This week there have been warnings about the extremities of heat we will experience in a matter of decades. It cannot be ignored. Christians are called to speak out on these matters. What Christ is telling us in these parables is that the kingdom is going to be a journey full of surprises and joys – but it will also involve disruption, unsettling and dramatic upset. Getting there isn’t going to be all sweetness and light. We need to buckle-up. “Do you understand?” He asked. “Yes.” They replied. I really hope they were listening! Amen.