Sunday, July 12, 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 12 : Trinity 5

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

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

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

Zoom Adult Choir – Wednesday 7.15pm Contact for the link.

Zoom home groups and Friday Group – email for the links.

Trinity 5

The Gospel in today’s morning service is the famous parable of the sower from Matthew 13, in which we hear about a sower whose seed falls in four very different types of soil, and thrives – or doesn’t – as a result. Like all good stories, we can find different meanings at different times in Jesus’ parables. This parable is told in Mark 4, and Luke 8 Gospel too, but in slightly different ways. You might like to read all three versions and spot the differences.
It’s always important to remember that the Gospels weren’t written for us, but for the early Christian communities  their writers belonged to or had responsibility for. Often, these communities faced difficult times. There were intermittent waves of persecution as well as the “normal” trials of living in a world that was insecure and precarious. Life wasn’t always going to be easy, and there’s a real sense in this story of recognising that it is normal to  “win some and lose some”. God’s word, the seed, falls into many different types of soil, and some will come to nothing. But that doesn’t mean that the sower sows in vain, because the seed that does germinate and thrive produces thirty, sixty and a hundred times as much life as it started with. It is easy to see this parable as a rather grim warning to us to make sure that we are providing good places for God’s word to take root, but in reality, the soil can’t help being what it is, and Jesus’ message is really about the sowers generosity, his endless hope for the seed he casts about, regardless of how unlikely the ground looks.

 Vincent van Gogh painted very many versions of the theme of the sower, drawing inspiration from the landscapes around him. There are at least 30 works on this theme. The one below, shows the sower either in the early morning or at sunset, with the sun low in the sky, casting purple and blue shadows across the land. The sower has either risen early or stayed up late, determined to use the day to the full to sow his seed. He is almost bumping into the tree which hangs over the scene, as if he wants to make sure that everywhere where there might be a pocket of soil that can sustain a plant has a chance to do so.
  • Where do you see God’s life sprouting in you? Where is God at work?  
All Age Ideas and Resources

Sow some seeds if you have them, or collect some seeds from plants that have set seed already – wild flowers and grasses will have set seed you can collect – and sow them. You could also sow the seeds from a fruit or vegetable you are eating - a tomato or pepper, apple or orange – you might not get a crop, but you will be able to watch the plant growing!.  You can sow seeds on damp tissue paper if you haven’t got any compost or soil. Don’t eat anything you grow unless you are SURE it is edible.


Roots on the web

Adult resources from Roots on the Web
Prayer of the week
The Canticle of the Sun

This prayer – originally a song - was written by St Francis of Assisi in an Umbrian dialect of Italian, his native language, around 1224 (about the same time our church was being built) towards the end of his life. He was ill, and more or less blind, but dictated it to his companions, picturing the glories of the world in his mind’s eye, inviting each element of creation to praise God. According to stories, it wasn’t finished until he was about to die, when he added the last stanza, calling on Sister Death to praise God too. It is notable that he doesn’t limit his appreciation of the natural world to the elements of it which appeal to him – nature isn’t seen as just an instrument for human beings to use. As well as Death, stormy weather is invoked -  not something we’d usually count as a blessing. Everything that exists is made by God and has a part to play in the life of the whole. We are probably most familiar with the version of this adapted into the hymn “All Creatures of our God and king”.

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your Name.

Praised be you my Lord with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of you Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.

Praised be you my Lord through Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be you my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be you my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be you my Lord through those who grant pardon
for love of you and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
By you Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be you, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they she finds doing your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks, and serve Him with great humility.
  •  What do you think of this prayer/song?
  • What would you like to invite to praise God?
  • What would you find it hard to include if you were composing a song like this (viruses perhaps?)

Although this hymn is more often sung at Easter, it is very appropriate this Sunday, to go with the Gospel reading of the Parable of the Sower. In the parable, the seed represents the word of God, which grows I the lives of those who are open to receive it. This hymn reminds us that it is not just God’s spoken or written word which is sown, but the Living Word of Jesus, who was buried in the stoniest of ground, a rock-cut tomb, yet rose to new life which not only enlivened him, but all the rest of us too. As Jesus says in John’s Gospel, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12.24.

The hymn was written by John M.C. Crum 1872- 1958, a Church of England clergyman whose first wife, Edith, died aged 21, shortly after the birth of their first child. When he speaks about hearts being “wintry, grieving or in pain”, he knows what he is talking about. He later remarried and had five more children, so he evidently found new love and life after this early tragedy. The tune is Noel Nouvelet, an old French carol tune.

1 Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

2 In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain,
Thinking that He never would awake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

3 Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead the risen One is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

4 When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus' touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Worship in church
 Worship in church began again last Sunday morning, and went well. You are welcome to join us at 10 am on Sunday mornings if you would like to and feel it is safe and sensible for you to do so, although I will continue to produce podcasts for as long as they are needed - certainly throughout the summer. The 10 am service in church is very much like the podcasts, but without the hymns. We hope to add evensong and Holy Communion from Aug 9th, if all goes well until then.

We can only accommodate 35 people (slightly more if people come as a household), strictly on a “first come, first served” basis – we aren’t taking bookings for seats because that would unfairly disadvantage those who might find it hard to book online or by phone, or aren’t aware they need to book, who may be the people who need a service in church the most.

Those who are vulnerable for any reason are STRONGLY ADVISED to continue worshipping at home with the podcasts for the time being. There is a video explaining what to expect here (script here) and a summary here.
Many thanks to all who responded to our recent appeal for donations. You can find it here, if you didn’t receive a letter. It outlines the various ways you can give either a one-off donation or on a regular basis.
Your generous contributions have made a real difference to our financial positions, bringing in over £5000 from this appeal to date. This will really help us to plug the gap left by the loss of collections, fees for weddings etc and hall lettings over the last few months. As with many charities and businesses, there will be long term impacts of this time of lockdown, and we are especially grateful for those who have taken out standing orders, which helps us budget for the future.We know that many people are going through difficult financial times themselves, and fully understand that it is not possible for some to give at all, let alone to increase their giving – we are grateful for anything people contribute to the ministry of this church,  not only in money but also in time, talents, prayer and love, so that it can continue to work not just for the congregation but for the whole community.
I would also like to thank Vanessa Griffiths, Paul Thompson and other members of the PCC who have been working hard to make sure we are financially secure.
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas
And Finally...
I've been making face masks for Philip and me to wear, and have been quite proud of the results, but now I see that I have been utterly outclassed by this ecclesiastical offering, which I am sure is soon to be come the official face wear of the C of E.
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