Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday worship and other news...

Dear friends
The links to our worship this week are below.
Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP July 19: Trinity 6

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet       Morning hymn words
Evensong Podcast                    Evensong Service sheet                    Evensong hymn Words


Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:

Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am. 
email sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. 

Wednesday Zoom Church – Wed  at 11 am Twenty minutes of informal worship with our friends at Lavender Fields. Everyone is welcome.
email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom Children’s Choir -
Wed at 5pm
AND
Thurs at  4pm
please contact 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. Any children are welcome for 30 minutes of fun songs.

Zoom Adult Choir – Wednesday 7.15pm Contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom home groups and Friday Group – email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the links.


Trinity 6


Today’s Gospel story, like last week’s, is set in an agricultural context. A farmer finds his field has been sown with a mixture of wheat, which he wants, and weeds – darnel or tares – which he definitely doesn’t. No one notices until harvest is near, because both plants look alike until their seeds ripen. Only then do the darker seeds of the tares show up among the wheat. But the master doesn’t blame the slaves who sowed and tended the fields, nor does he seek revenge on the “enemy” who he thinks must have sown these seeds. Instead he tells his workers to wait for the harvest time. Uprooting the weeds will destroy the wheat with it. It can sound like a grim story – but it’s actually the opposite, a story of God’s gracious and generous love which doesn’t want to lose anything good.


The readings at Evensong focus on the theme of wisdom, with a famous story about Solomon, who was asked to judge between two new mothers who have each had a child. One child has lived and other has died, and each mother claims that the living child is hers. It’s a story which has provided inspiration to many painters over the years.

In Matthias Stom’s depiction, from 1640, the dramatic lighting highlights the moment of choice, when Solomon suggests that the child should be cut in two… One mother instantly says that  the child should be given to the other woman to prevent this happening. Intriguingly, the story doesn’t actually make it clear whether she is his biological mother, but she is certainly the one who cares about him, and that’s enough for Solomon – she is the one who is given the child.
  • Both these stories invite us to think about the way we exercise judgement, and how we feel about being judged. What is your reaction to them?
All Age Ideas and Resources

The wheat and weeds in today's Gospel story looked almost identical. They are both grasses. There are lots of different sorts of grass. Have a look at a patch of grass near you which is producing seed. How many different seed heads can you find? You could pick some and stick them onto some paper or clear plastic to make a picture showing the different shapes and sizes of seedheads you've found.

There are some lovely ideas in this week's Reflectionary sheet, based around today's Psalm , Psalm 139.
https://reflectionaryb.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/psalm-139.pdf

Roots on the web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/20742/19-july-2020-childrens-sheet.pdf

Adult resources from Roots on the Web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/21136/liveyourfaith_108-lockdown-version_19-july.pdf
Prayer of the week
We break this bread for the great green earth;
We call to mind the forests, fields and flowers which we are destroying, that one day, with the original blessing, God’s creation will be restored.
We break this bread for those who have no bread, the starving, the homeless and the refugees, that one day this planet may be a home for everyone.                      
Donald Reeves
 

This prayer, by Donald Reeves, a former Rector of St James, Piccadilly, is really designed to be spoken as the priest breaks bread before sharing Communion. I always include it in our Harvest Communion service. But it could equally be used as a grace before meals. It reminds us that the simple act of eathing is full of significance. The food we eat is a gift of God, a gift of the earth. It is not ours to own and control, but to share. As we break bread we are reminded too of the brokenness of the world, in which even this most basic thing is denied to some people.
  • Are there meals you remember as especially significant?
  • Perhaps you could say this prayer, privately or out loud, as you eat this week.
HYMN OF THE WEEK

Come ye thankful people, come
This hymn is usually associated with harvest, but it draws its imagery largely from the story we’ve heard today. It’s writer, Revd Henry Alford 1810-1871), was Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, and an academic theologian famous for his commentary on the Greek New Testament. He also wrote copious amounts of poetry and hymns, but this is the only one which is well known now.

1 Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

2 All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

3 For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

4 Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Outdoor Church
The weather for this afternoon looks a bit dodgy, but we may be lucky for our first Outdoor Church, an informal time of all age worship with a story from me. We’ll meet at the War Memorial at 4pm, unless it is bucketing down with rain! Bring a folding chair or a picnic blanket (or a tarpaulin, if you think you’ll need it!) It should last about 20 minutes. I hope to make this a weekly gathering, except on Aug 2, when I will be taking a break, so let’s hope that isn’t a cue for every Sunday afternoon to be rainy!
ongratulations to Jess Heeb

As you may know, Jess, who joined us earlier this year with her husband Jonathan, has been training on the Bishop’s Certificate course for the last two years, which aims to equip lay people with the foundations of theological education. It is also the first part of the training for Licensed Lay Ministry. Jess completed the Bishop’s Certificate course and was awarded her certificate officially at a service on Zoom this week, which I attended too. Jess will now start the Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) course– the Bishop’s Certificate course forms the first part of this training and, all being well, be licensed next summer, but the Bishop’s Certificate allows her to preach and lead worship a number of times a year, so we will be easing her in “up front” to give her some practice at doing this. I know you will join me in congratulating her on all the hard work that has gone into her training so far, and thank her for her willingness to share her gifts with us at Seal.

I asked Jess to write a bit about what this journey of training has been like for her so far, and this is what she wrote.
These last couple of years have been for me quite a journey of traveling. I have been moving away from a place of deciding what I think God is doing and what I want in that, to a place of looking to see what God is already doing and listening to Him, waiting for Him to invite me into where He wants me to be involved in His work. I am learning (very slowly) to wait for Him to speak first.
Goodness He’s patient with me in that!
In this journey some things haven’t changed - I still loathe writing essays, for one. But I’ve
discovered new things about myself - that somewhere in me there might be leadership skills, that
I can flourish in a spacious place, that uncertainty can be a good thing in the way it causes me to
turn towards God and lean into Him, and that sometimes we are the love of God through
something as seemingly unspiritual as home-made shortbread. I am learning to wait attentively
and to be adaptive in my thinking through that process. To look both at the view and to feel the
grass under my feet, the soft blades between my toes and the cool balm under my soles. I have
learned to treasure the forming part of this process of being and becoming - to recognise the fear
in me as I am pruned and re-shaped - and in that fear to yield to the loving gentle hands of a
Father who will not damage me in that work of His, but will free up the tender young shoots to
thrive and hopefully blossom.
My eyes have been opened to see new things about God - things I could have seen before if only
I’d looked, for God hasn’t changed. But now I begin to see depths and broadness that brings joy
and excitement to my heart. I find myself in a place of wonder - expectant at what lies ahead but
also humbled because I realise now that this is a place that I have always been able to be in,
every day. I can always, at any moment, on any day, take my sandals off and stand on Holy
Ground - because the God who is present in the burning bush is here and now present in all
things. He does not hide - I just haven’t look for Him in the past in ways I’m now learning to do.

If anyone else would like to know more about the various lay ministry training opportunities in Rochester Diocese you can find out more here – https://www.rochester.anglican.org/ministry/discipleship-amp-lay-ministry-/ -or by talking to Jess, of course!

And finally...
I know we’re all getting a bit stir-crazy, and wanting to get out and about a bit more, maybe even going on holiday if we can, but this little frog took wanderlust to its limits…

Banana-drama as South American frog found 5,000 miles from home in Llanelli supermarket fruit

.Credit: RSPCA Cymru
A supermarket worker in Llanelli, south Wales, was shocked to find a stowaway in a bunch of bananas from Colombia, South America. A frog had hitched a ride in the fruit, travelling 5,000 miles and ending up at the Asda supermarket on Murray Street. The RSPCA were called and the frog is now safe and well in a specialist marine facility in Haverfordwest. The animal welfare charity thanked staff at the supermarket for their quick-thinking which enabled them to keep the frog safe.
Amphibians are capable of slowing their metabolism and this is believed to be how the frog survived the long journey into a foreign, cooler climate without food and water. After finding the unusual discovery, staff called the RSPCA who came to collect the animal. The frog, nicknamed 'Asda' after the site of its discovery, has been transferred to a marine life specialist centre in Haverfordwest. It will live in a special planted, humid environment there. It can be difficult to identify species of frog but staff at the Silent World Zoo To You marine facility think their new resident is a Banana Tree Frog.
Gemma Cooper, an inspector for the RSPCA said: "I thought I'd seen everything working for the RSPCA - but this banana-drama was a new one for me.  "We're so grateful to the members of the Asda team who contacted us. One team member spotted the frog, while another confined the frog and took him home. This quick thinking helped keep this frog safe." Ginny Spenceley, who works at the frog's new home said discovering something extra in a fruit delivery was not as unusual as people think. She said: "This isn't as rare a discovery as people may think. With fruit deliveries no longer sprayed or treated, it isn't uncommon for a frog or spider to hitch a ride."Fortunately, he’s doing really well and, funnily enough, got very comfortable in a banana skin as we helped settle him into his new, less familiar surroundings."
Colombia is the UK's biggest supplier of bananas, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of the fruit imported every year. An Asda spokesperson said: "We are pleased that Asda the frog is safe and well and hope he enjoys his hoppy new home."
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