Collect and Readings Collect of the Day Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. First Reading Romans 13.8-14 8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not cov- et’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. 11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; 13 let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunk- enness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Gospel Matthew 18.15-20 Jesus spoke to his disciples. 15 ‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’ Post Communion Prayer God of all mercy, in this eucharist you have set aside our sins and given us your healing: grant that we who are made whole in Christ may bring that healing to this broken world, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Noces Foundation for relief and reconciliation in the Middle East Many of you have been watching daily the news of appalling events in the Middle East and asking what we can do to help. The Christians in Iraq have been asking for our prayers. They ask that we pray the 3 Ps - for Protection, Provision and Perseverance. I’d like to recommend to you a UK -based charity called the Foundation for relief and reconciliation in the Middle East or FRRME. The charity is run by Canon Andrew White, the chaplain of St Georges Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq. The charity pro- vided humanitarian relief through St George Church and runs a clinic which is accessed by all faiths in the city. You can find out more at this website www.frrme.org and ways to give money and provide help. Sarah After the Informal Service at Milborne Port last week when prayers were said for Iraq, more of you have been asking how to give. At Milborne Port you can place money in the yellow giving envelopes and mark it clearly for Iraq. Please make this in addition to your normal offering. Sarah Charlton Horethorne Big Breakfast on Saturday 13th September in the Village Hall. Good choice of breakfast served from 8am to 10am. All donations towards Church funds
Page 2 are to flourish. We need to read our bibles and pray everyday otherwise we will end up like the seed that has fallen on the rocky ground or amongst the thistles. That’s all good stuff but hearer’s in Jesus day would have heard this differently. As they heard Jesus telling the story they would have thought that the farmer was absolutely bonkers and at worse wasteful. It’s not at all surprising that most of the seed didn’t grow. What’s surprising is that the farmer chose to sow it t here. This isn’t a rich man we’re talking about here: this is a poor farmer, a tenant farmer who can only eke out a living for himself and his family. Good seed is hard to come by, in times of famine some families have been forced to eat the seed rather than starve; (Mike you will know more about this than I do having been in Africa). If seed is so precious then you want to make sure it gets into the best soil and you don’t waste any. In short, this farmer behaves as though that which were most precious was available in unlimited supply. He could just throw it anywhere. What on earth is he thinking? Lots of it everywhere. Lot s of God’s love thrown everywhere. Indiscriminatingly, not carefully placed. Overflowing In abundance. What would it take us to be a church like that? A church that threw out the abundance of G od’s love everywhere. A church that didn’t hoard out of fear saying we have got to keep this to ourselves or only give to those who deserve God’s love or will do something with it. Or worse only gi ve it to those who come on Sunday Listen to the best bit of Jesus parable: God does not say to the farmer, you idiot, or don’t be wasteful. God blesses a farmer like this beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. In Jesus’ time. Normally, the farmer who reaps a twofold harvest would be considered fortunate. A fivefold harvest would be a cause for celebration throughout the village, there would be much thanking God for his blessing. But this foolish farmer who, in a world of scarcity, casts his seed on soil everyone knows is worthless is blessed by God in shocking abundance: a harvest of thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what he sowed. We think we live in a world of scarcity. Sometimes it is easy for us to get worried in church about money being tight, or our lack of resources and people to do things. Even when we’re looking at other qualities like, love and blessing, there’s sometimes a sense that the good things God has for us are in such limited supply that the only kind of good and sensible thing to guard it very carefully and keep it to ourselves and only give it to those we’re sure are worthy. That’s not the Good News God has for us: The kingdom of God has come among us. The kingdom of love, justice and blessing. God has blessed us richly, and God’s people have be en entrusted with that which is most precious in the world. But ironically, these priceless commodities only gain value God’s people scatter it absolutely heedless of who is worthy to receive it. Listen! We are called to treat God’s love, God’s justice, and God’s blessing, precious as these are, as if they were absolutely limitless in supply for one simple reason: They are. They really are. So back to the high visibility jackets. We become high visibility Christians, people see that we are followers when we are abundant with God’s love and justice. Please God that they see it here.