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Sunday July 26th. Holy Communion Jacob, Laban, Leah and Rachel.

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We meet in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Song: O Jesus I have promised


Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
We come to say sorry to God:
Father God, you have promised to hear us
When we call to you.
Lord we confess our sins.
Keep your promise and forgive us we pray
For the times when we have hurt others through the words we have said,
Lord we confess our sins.
Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.
For the times when our actions have been harmful and not loving,
Lord we confess our sins.
Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.
For the times when we have forgotten you and ignored your commands,
Lord we confess our sins.
Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.
And hear God’s forgiveness…….
The Collect
Generous God,
You give us gifts
And make them grow:
Though our faith is small as mustard seed,
Make it grow to your glory
And the flourishing of your kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 29:15-28


Song: Crown him with many crowns


Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Matthew 13:31-33 31He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."

33He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough."

Matthew 13:44-52 44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

47"Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked. "Yes," they replied. 52He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."
The Talk
Jacob and Rachel
Recently I have been preparing a young couple for their wedding in a few weeks time. The course is kind of in 3 parts, we start with God and finish with God with humanity sandwiched in the middle.
Tradition
Greek wedding-

Money dance.

Jewish wedding



Again the white cloth makes its appearance- but now much more precarious as they are both mounted on chairs at shoulder height and carried by everyone else.
Two other traditions which have come through the ages which feature in our OT reading today are
1. The bride entering wearing a veil over her face- not seen so often these days but is still done. Nowadays it is removed BEFORE the wedding ceremony begins and is usually quite see through.
2. Society protocol. For fans of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, you will remember that it was not the “done thing” to have younger daughters out in society before the eldest was married off.
Polygamy is illegal, but going back to our OT family, it was indeed legal.
It was certainly instituted as a means of looking after widows because they could find themselves out of society and unsupported- no widow’s pension.
It was encouraged that the widow could marry the brother of her late husband and that way she would be kept in the family fold and supported. I expect this was meant to be done out of love and support for not only her but her children also, however, it was probably more meant to be out of protection of land and bloodline. Ownership of land was key in ancient times.
So time for QUIZ with my lovely volunteers.
So today, we journey on in our exploration of the Old Testament with the continuing story of Jacob. Now an eligible bachelor and very much on the run from the anger of Esau, after stealing his birth-right and dying father’s blessing- he arrived at his uncle Laban’s household to work for him. There he met the love of his life-Rachel.



The problem was that Rachel was the younger daughter.
Laban is as deceitful in many ways as Jacob was to his father. Jacob has offered to work for Laban for 7 years for the hand of Rachel in marriage. After 7 years he approached Laban for him to pay up his part of the agreement, the wedding day is set. Traditionally, the bride would have worn a thick veil over her face and would not have removed it until they approached the bridal chamber.
And of course, when this happened, Jacob realised he has been deceived by Laban and married Leah instead. It took another 7 years of hard work before he could marry the love of his life, Rachel.
This whole story is about culture, tradition, love and heartache. We are not told whether Leah loved Jacob, but it would have been heart-breaking to know you were not the 1st choice (or perhaps any choice) of your husband. Leah had to marry out of tradition and not love.
What is surprising, is how did Jacob not know- were they the same height, did they sound the same, did they have the same mannerisms? Did they ever communicate together?
Whatever your marital status, this story draws you in. And I think ultimately your sympathies lie with Leah.

So what does this tell us about the people in the story?

In this story, we have an insight into the wider members of this family. Throughout this whole journey with Abraham and Isaac, although these people are very much faithful to God, they are also very human too with human faults and failings. With Jacob’s younger life, we also see that he too is very weak giving into temptation with his love of power with the birth-right taken cunningly from Esau and worse still the dying father’s blessing stolen by trickery.
Jacob, of course, ends up taking a bit of his own medicine, when Laban tricks him into marrying the wrong sister first even if this is all wrapped up in “tradition”. It all seems a bit of a mess and yet, even in the heartbreak of Leah, God is still working his purpose out. These people Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are known as the Patriarchs. They are the founding fathers of this great nation of Israel to be. And it is through Israel and their ongoing relationship with God, that we have Jesus. God’s Son who not only came to save Israel, but through his death and resurrection came to save the world. It is this point in history, at Jesus’ birth, that the start of the kingdom of God had begun here on this earth.
A truly great kingdom- priceless- more than buried treasure or pearls. A kingdom of no fixed limits and of awesome power to grow. A kingdom built on faith.
What does this tell us about God?
One often wonders if God knew this was going to happen all along. He had promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation and up to this point in the story, that great nation seemed a bit far off. But it is through these two women that the 12 tribes of Israel came into being.


God is working his promise out, not so much in the strength of these people, but in their weakness and failings. He was true to his promise
St Paul wrote to the church in Corinth talking about human weakness

Paul knew that that it is only in our weakness, that God’s power can come shining through.
What does it tell us for today?

God keeps his promises and God uses us for who we are. But God can only work through us if we keep a dialogue going with him. For any relationship to be strong- not just in marriage, communication is key. We have seen how God has used people and circumstance to carry out the fulfilment of his promise to Abraham.

For the people involved, this journey has not been an easy one. It is hard to let go of human weakness. They have wanted to go their own way a bit and sort life out for themselves without involving God- without listening to him. But God saw their plan and changed it back to his own.
And we are guilty of that too.
Communication with God through prayer is key to us having that good relationship with God. It is a dialogue we have been welcomed into through Christ. And God will always hear and answer our prayer. If this story shows us anything, it is that God holds the master plan, promises will be fulfilled but in God’s time scale and not necessarily ours. All will be revealed through God’s love and in his own good time. We just need to have faith in the future.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk to him about it today!
The Creed
Let us declare our faith in God.
Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.
Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.
Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.
This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Our Prayers using Gazing Cards…Led by Paul
Climate Change


Covid-19


Education




Black Lives Matter


That the poor may be lifted up, that the sick may be healed, that the oppressed may be set free.
That the good news of the kingdom of God be proclaimed in every corner of the world.
That we have the courage to be workers, speaking up against injustice wherever we find it, and sharing the love of Christ with all those in need. Merciful Father
Accept our prayers
For the sake of your Son
Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Peace
The peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of peace.
Song: Dear Lord and Father of mankind



The Lord be with you
and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.
Almighty God, good Father to us all,
your face is turned towards your world.
In love you gave us Jesus your Son
to rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home
to the city where angels sing your praise.
We join with them in heaven's song: (sung)
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord,
Holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
Father of all, we give you thanks
for every gift that comes from heaven.
To the darkness Jesus came as your light.
With signs of faith and words of hope
he touched untouchables with love and washed the guilty clean.
This is his story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.
The crowds came out to see your Son,
yet at the end they turned on him.
On the night he was betrayed
he came to table with his friends
to celebrate the freedom of your people.
This is his story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.
Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food;
he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
This is my body, given for you all.
Jesus then gave thanks for the wine;
he took the cup, gave it and said:
This is my blood, shed for you all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.
This is our story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.
Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup
we celebrate the cross
on which he died to set us free.
Defying death he rose again
and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.
This is our story.
This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.
Send your Spirit on us now
that by these gifts we may feed on Christ
with opened eyes and hearts on fire.
May we and all who share this food
offer ourselves to live for you
and be welcomed at your feast in heaven
where all creation worships you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.
We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many we are one body because we all share in one bread.
Jesus, Lamb of God
have mercy on us.
Jesus bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.
Draw near with faith.
Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ
which he gave for you,
and his blood which he shed for you.
Eat and drink
in remembrance that he died for you,
and feed on him in your hearts
by faith with thanksgiving.
Prayer of Spiritual Communion
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen
The Blessing
The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.
Song: Build your kingdom here

The Dismissal
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
Notices
What's on this week...(Buff and Julie away)
Monday Breakfast club 10a.m-12pm- Food parcel and activity packs pick up
Monday 1-3pm Foodbank (donations can be dropped off from 12pm)
Tuesday 3pm Afternoon Tea (via Whatsapp)
Tuesday Bible Study 4.30pm
Wednesday 10am-12pm- Food parcel and activity packs pick up
Birthdays

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Song: Light of the world
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