O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
your Son left the riches of heaven
and became poor for our sake:
when we prosper save us from pride,
when we are needy save us from despair,
that we may trust in you alone;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God has taken his stand in the council of heaven;
in the midst of the gods he gives judgement:
‘How long will you judge unjustly
and show such favour to the wicked?
‘You were to judge the weak and the orphan;
defend the right of the humble and needy;
‘Rescue the weak and the poor;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
‘They have no knowledge or wisdom;
they walk on still in darkness:
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
‘Therefore I say that though you are gods
and all of you children of the Most High,
‘Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals
and fall like one of their princes.’
Arise, O God and judge the earth,
for it is you that shall take all nations for your possession.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Jesus put before the crowds another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’
Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet:
‘I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden
from the foundation of the world.’
Over the past few months God has come in for a lot of criticism. Even those who have little or no faith have joined in. “Why doesn’t God do something?” “How could your God do this to us?” The frustrations of many have been expressed in this way. It must be God’s fault!
When we are not blaming God we devote a lot of time and effort to finding someone else to blame. After all, If we are being inconvenienced, there must be someone we can blame!
Today’s reading is particularly apposite to a consideration of the ‘blame culture’ because it is about waiting, about being patient. This is difficult for many because, in general, people do not like to wait, they are, by nature, impatient. Our modern technological age has led us to expect instantaneous gratification, not a place at the back of a long queue. Our ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality has taught us that if we shout loud enough, and in a convincingly aggressive manner we will get our own way. But … Jesus’ response to all of that impatience is direct and unequivocal. Jesus says: “No! Wait! All will come good in God’s own time!”
Jesus speaks of mustard seed (which is incredibly tiny) and yeast. These two small, ordinary things possess within them properties that belie their ordinariness. The tiny mustard seed can grow into the largest of trees. The yeast can grow and grow to produce the most wonderful and sustaining bread. But both demand patience if their full potential is to be realized. This is just like the Kingdom of God, the coming of which we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer.
Let us learn Jesus’ lesson of patience and forbearance.
Let us set aside the irrelevant and move forward with Christian love and hope in our hearts.
Then we may see that our focused prayer and worship may flourish, just like the mustard seed and the yeast, in our community and throughout the world.
Prayers of intercession
For the growth and purity of the Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord.
Guide your Church to cherish and cultivate the precious seed of the Kingdom, that all your people may be gathered into one in holiness. Teach us to recognise the old and the new treasures that have been revealed and entrusted to us, to maintain past integrity and explore new opportunities.
May all that tends to goodness and love in the world be recognised and developed. Give to the rulers of the nations and to all in authority the understanding that there is a greater kingdom than their own, and a richer treasure than their wealth, so that life for all shall be more abundant.
Help us to value more fully the gifts that we have received and to help our families, our friends and neighbours, towards the Kingdom. Make us wise in our households, to be faithful to the past and open to the future.
Have mercy on those suffering from despair and depression because they have not known the true values that lead to contentment. Set free all whose lives are constrained by the errors of the past and those who are afraid of what is new.
Receive into life the souls who have been brought to the eternal shore in the net of salvation and made members of the Kingdom towards which they strove on earth. May they find rest, and treasure greater than they have known.
We offer our prayers in the name of Christ, through whom we are members of the Kingdom.
Prayer for the week
Lord and heavenly Father,
make us mindful of your presence with us;
that we may draw near to you
with holy and humble hearts,
and offer prayers and praises
acceptable in your sight;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer
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.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.