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Sunday 5th July 2020- Trinity 4

posted 3 Jul 2020, 06:28 by Church Office   [ updated 5 Jul 2020, 06:45 by CHS Info ]











You can download the order of service here
, and a printable version of the readings, sermon and prayers can be downloaded here

 Sunday 5th July 2020

Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Our readings this week ask us to question what we place our trust in. We are promised a rest for our souls, an easy yoke, a light burden and yet the path to this rest seems counter-intuitive: Zechariah tries to persuade us that the war horses, chariots and bows and arrows of the mighty armies will be defeated by someone humble and gentle and riding on a baby donkey.  Jesus claims that the children, the infants and the little ones in life know more of the truth of God than the wise and intelligent.  These readings challenge us to reflect on what we give authority over us; because, the truth is that, we are always in yoke to something: people, places, habits, possessions, beliefs, ways of being in the world. What or whom are we yoked to and what direction are they leading us in?

Pram Service (8am) This week’s pram service is about hiding and seeking, losing and finding and who God tells secrets to. Our craft this week is a colourful chatterbox which opens up to reveal God’s amazing secrets. Story, song, prayers and activities to make our littlest members feel welcome. Head over to the Children and Youth tab to see this week’s service.

Sunday School (9:30am) This week its ‘thy kingdom come’ as we continue to explore the Lord’s prayer. What does God want us to make the world - fair? Just? Kind? Merciful? Pitying? Loving?  We’ll be drawing good things we do - listing the virtues - paint gardens of peace and joy. You will need to bring paper, colouring pens/pencils, you may want to use paint or pastels for your art. Join us here: https://zoom.us/j/578055716, you’ll need the password which can be found in our newsletter. To subscribe please go to our homepage to subscribe.

Readings

Zechariah 9:9-12

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!


    Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
    triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
    and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
    and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
 I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.

 

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

16 “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

17 ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
    we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

25 At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus laments the grown-ups’ lack of understanding: children, he tells us, have the truth of God revealed to them more clearly than the supposedly wise and intelligent adults. Conventions and rules and this-is-the-way-it has-always-been stand in the way of us re-visioning our future through the eyes of God—we need to borrow the eyes of a child to see clearly.

Sermon

 Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden is light – yeah right!

The yoke, an implement used to bind teams of animals together, keeping them under control and driving them in a particular direction, is a symbol of servitude: God’s people throughout history have longed to throw off the yoke of bondage and the burden of oppression.

We do not think of ourselves as bound, we think that we are in control, that we chose what direction our lives move in. But truth be told all of us are yoked to something or someone: an institution we serve, the influences we are under, the people we please, the principles or values (conscious or unconscious) that drive our actions and set the direction of our lives. 

Jesus encourages us to bring our heavy burdens to him but then promises to replace them with yet another burden. 

What we want is the option to be unburdened and unyoked. 

Well, there isn’t one. 

That’s just a fact of life.

But, in confronting it, we are given a choice: the choice to become aware of what drives us, what we are shackled to, what direction we are headed in. 

These things, Jesus says, are often hidden from those who think that they are wise and intelligent; they think that they are free, when, in reality, they are bound. 

Infants, on the other hand, they know that they have to do what others tell them to do.

When Jesus speaks of children and infants, he does not just mean the young.  In the Biblical world the child is the property of others, their lives are not their own.                                                                   

The children, the little ones, the least, are those whose lives are controlled and directed by others and they know it.

When Jesus says that God has revealed the truth to the infants and hidden it from the wise and intelligent, he is not being contrary, he’s just telling us how it is. The least among us have a different perspective on life, they can see things that those with more power cannot.

To find out what they see we need to pay attention.

We need to listen closely to the experiences of those on the margins of life, those who are struggling to stay afloat.  It is from here that God speaks, through the voices of women, the poor, the foreigner, the oppressed.

The current pandemic is revealing some of these voices to us: we are beginning, God willing, to hear the experiences of the low-paid security staff, shop workers, delivery drivers, transport personnel, the insecure migrants who clean our hospitals and take care of our elderly, the black and ethnic minority communities who are dying in higher numbers of the corona virus.

Listening to the voices from the margins though is not as simple as it sounds: we don’t just have to hear what they have to say, we have to unhear what else is being said to us.

As a result of the BLM campaign we are hearing that our history, our wealth, our security, our progress has been built on the back of the poor and the enslaved. This involves not only hearing their story but unhearing the story we have grown up with: the story that it was British exceptionalism, industry and hard work that fuelled the industrial revolution and laid the foundation for our relative security and prosperity and hearing that it was built by the sweat of slaves in the cotton fields of Louisiana and the sugar cane fields of Barbados and Jamaica.

This is not just about history: hearing these stories, questioning the stories we have heard all our lives, opens our eyes to see the truth that those who are making our clothes, cleaning our schools, feeding our children are low-paid, under-valued, living in precarious and even dangerous conditions.

This knowledge is a heavy burden.  But here’s the thing – it offers a path to freedom.  It sets us free to see the world as it truly is, as God sees it. It reveals to us that our security and our freedoms are intimately yoked to the insecurity and bondage of others.  And with that revelation comes the freedom to choose differently.

We can choose to yoke ourselves to one another, to pull together in the direction that Christ sets, towards justice for all God’s people the foolish as well as the wise, the young as well as the old, the poor as well as the rich.

We don’t have the option of being unyoked, unburdened, but we do get to decide which yoke, which burden. 

We can choose to become prisoners of hope and move forwards together in the direction of justice and of peace.v

Prayers

We rejoice, O Christ,
for in your tender compassion
you shoulder our burdens and ease our heavy hearts.
Give us the strength to carry each other
as you have carried us. Amen.

 

Prayers of Intercession

Let us join our hearts now in prayer:

God who dwells among people rather than buildings, we come to you in prayer for the church where it is weary and burdened. We pray for people of faith throughout the world who have felt isolated through this pandemic, particularly in places where your church already faces persecution. Grant us the rest we need to hear your word of hope, that we may support each other with renewed strength to follow you.
Lord, in your mercy,    hear our prayer.

God who creates and shapes our earth, we come to you in prayer for the world where it is weary and burdened. We pray for places where lockdown has not ended the destruction of the natural world, nor halted the terrors of war, nor stopped the erosion of democracy. Grant us the rest we need to see both the deep longings and the daily miracles of life around us, that we may work with renewed energy to protect your creation and work for justice in the world.
Lord, in your mercy,    hear our prayer.

God who teaches us to live with love, we come to you in prayer for our community where it is weary and burdened. We pray for the places in our own neighbourhoods where this pandemic has reaffirmed the deadly tolls exacted by prejudice and systemic racism. Grant us the rest we need to listen to these hard truths, that we may come to a renewed understanding of the unheard voices in our community.
Lord, in your mercy,    hear our prayer.

God who sustains our miraculous bodies, we come to you in prayer for the sick who are weary and burdened. We pray especially for the needs of those dear to us who need healing: for Jane, Heidi, and Albert Bell; Sara Carter, Ruby Mitchell, Monika Maciejko, Jane Taylor, Linda Parker, Christine Harris, Jane Roberts, Damien Harte, Jo Harvey, and Joshua Clark. Grant them the rest they need to heal, and grant us the rest we need to care for each other with a renewed sense of love.
Lord in your mercy,    hear our prayer.

God who promises eternal life, we come to you in prayer for the grieving who are weary and burdened. We pray for those mourning recent losses or remembering the anniversaries of loved ones who are now with you. Grant the departed rest, and grant us rest in their memories.
Lord, in your mercy,    hear our prayer.

Merciful God, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Church Office,
3 Jul 2020, 06:28
Ċ
Church Office,
4 Jul 2020, 04:07