Community of Christ

COVID-19  Ongoing Response

Worship Resources - 19 July 2020

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 11)

MATTHEW 13:24-30, 36-43

Shine like the Sun

Additional Scriptures

Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Doctrine and Covenants 128:8c


Preparation

Display live plants or a picture of a wheat field with a pile of pulled weeds next to it.

Prelude

Welcome

Call to Worship

Scripture: Psalm 139:1-3, 23-24

Hymn of Praise

“Searcher of Hearts” CCS 178

OR “Morning Has Broken” CCS 143

OR “All My Days” CCS 266

Invocation

Response

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.

Prayer: Read the words to “God Weeps,” CCS 212, and add “Amen.”

For more ideas, the Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, USA, can be found at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Hymn of Reconciliation

“The Love of God” CCS 210

OR “God! When Human Bonds Are Broken” CCS 236

The Parable: Matthew 13:24-30

Hymn of Light

“Let the Truth Shine in Our Speaking” CCS 322

OR “There’s An Old, Old Path” CCS 244 or 245

The Parable Explained: Matthew 13:36-43

Message

Based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Hymn of Discernment

“I Will Talk to My Heart” CCS 168

OR “Teach Me, God, to Wonder” CCS 178

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture: Romans 8:14-17

Statement: As children of God, we are called to live our lives compassionately; prompted to respond with generosity by the Spirit which dwells within us.

During the Disciples’ Generous Response we focus on aligning our purposes with God’s purposes, aligning our heart with God’s heart.

As you share your mission tithes or if you give regularly through eTithing, use this time to express gratitude for God’s many gifts in your life and to reflect on how we respond faithfully to those blessings. When we understand God’s love and grace are given freely to us, we respond out of gratitude and are liberated to share freely in return.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For further resources, visit www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools and www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tips.

Hymn of Shining Light

“Send Forth Your Light, O Zion” CCS 622

OR “When Holy Ghost Shall Come in Power” CCS 628

Benediction

Response

Sending Forth: Doctrine and Covenants 128:8c

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 11)

MATTHEW 13: 24–30, 36–43

Exploring the Scripture

The parable, referred to as the parable of the weeds of the field, comes in two parts. The first is the actual parable and the second is Jesus’ explanation of the parable to his disciples. The parts are connected to the parable of the sower and its explanation in Matthew 13:1–23 in two ways. One is the reference to sowing seeds in the field and the other is the use of one word found at the beginning and end of these two parables. The word is listen. Even the expression, “Let anyone with ears listen!” is common to both parables.

Jesus used parables, a well-understood method of illustration among Jewish teachers, to explain the kingdom of God both in the future and the present. This is among the first parables in the Gospel of Matthew. In this one Jesus tells his followers he has an important message and they need to listen carefully to these stories for hints at living life in his kingdom.

The parable begins with an illustration of good seeds being sown on a field. While no one was watching, weeds were sown in with wheat. The servants of the field asked if they should go in and remove the weeds. They are told not to uproot the weeds because that would damage the good roots of the wheat. So the plants are allowed to live side by side until the harvest. In Jesus’ explanation of the parable, he says it was the Son of Man who planted the seeds. He often referred to himself as the Son of Man to imply he was a dedicated follower of God, but also involved in presenting a vision of the kingdom. And sowing the seeds was a kingdom-building activity. Everyone is given the seed to produce good wheat but some choose not to accept. We call this “agency.” At some point, Jesus sends his angels to remove the causes of sinfulness leaving the children of God to shine in the kingdom. The listener is cautioned again to listen.

These scriptures tell us there will be conflicting priorities in our lives. We choose the path before us. We cannot isolate ourselves from those who do not accept the instructions of Christ. We live among them. By our example we copy Christ and affirm his mission of invitation, compassion, and justice. We can invite them to become children of God by providing examples of the compassion and justice we learn from the life of Christ. We listen to instructions and respond as partners to set up God’s kingdom.

Listening is a lesson in stewardship. We are given the words of a loving God to respond in ministry to God’s people. We can choose to isolate ourselves, confident in the glow of God’s presence or we can move out in generous service sharing ourselves to our true capacity. Today we are reminded to listen to the instructions that give us strength for the difficult journey ahead and share the message of hope with those waiting to be invited.

Central Ideas

  • Wheat and weeds grow side by side and it is Christ who sowed the seeds.
  • Everyone has agency (freedom) to hear and respond to the instructions of Christ.
  • As children of God, we live in a world with conflicting priorities.
  • If we follow the instructions in verse 43, “Let anyone with ears listen!” and respond to the message of Christ, we engage in building the kingdom where we live.
  • Stewardship involves listening to the instructions of God and responding to God’s people.

Questions to Consider

  • Which of Jesus’ parables are influential in your journey with Christ?
  • Are there those in your life with whom you shared the hope of the kingdom and who decided to follow another path? Do you uphold a relationship of love with them?
  • How difficult (or easy) is it to live as a child of God in this world with conflicting priorities?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time, Proper 11

Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Ordinary Time runs from Pentecost to Advent. This part of the Christian calendar is without major festivals or holy days. During Ordinary Time we focus on our discipleship as individuals and a faith community.

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Lord of language,
The word LOVE is present in VIOLENCE,
Just as love is present in the world of violence.
You have to search for it; it is not inherently apparent, but it lives within.
A scrambling of characters brings holiness; the dropping of letters brings peace.
Violence is anti-love,
anti-progress,
anti-diversity,
anti-Christ;
anti-your Word:
“As I have loved you…love one another” (John 13:34 NRSV).
God of all peoples, you’ve given commandments of peace to each community attacked as of late:
“O You Who Believe, Enter into Peace” (Holy Quran, 2:208),
and
“Peace, peace to the far and the near” (Isaiah 57:19).
The children of Abraham cry out from the four corners of the Earth,
asking heart-wrenching questions:
“Why violence in my holy space?”
“Why us?”
“Where were you?”
“Where is PEACE?”
And just like the mystery of you—peace is everywhere, even in violence.
Introspectively we search, down and across for the meaning in our hearts to the simple Word given,
Shalom, Salaam,
the wholeness that is God, who dwells in each of us.
And when we finally find the Light in the dark within, whether it be a noun or a verb,
we will use our tears and then our clumsy words to grant peace unto our brothers and sisters:
“Peace be with you.”
“Salaam alaikum.”
“Shalom aleichem.”
We outstretch our arms, embrace the others, and make them our own.
This is Peace.
May we find you.
Amen.

Michael Wright

Spiritual Practice

Holding in the Light

Read the following to the group:

Our Enduring Principle focus this week is on Blessings of Community. We are taught to create communities of peace in our families, neighborhoods, congregations, nations, tribes, and around the world. A spiritual practice that helps us feel connected to our communities is called holding in the light. It is a form of intercessory prayer/meditation adapted from the Quaker movement.

Share the following instructions:

We will stand in a circle. I will light the candle I hold. The rest of you will hold your hands in front of you as if you are helping me hold the light.

Allow time for the group to get situated.

Look at the candlelight and become aware of your own breathing. Begin to center yourself with breath prayer. Breathe in the word love. Breathe out the word light. Repeat three times.

Call to mind names of those loved ones, communities, or countries you wish to pray for as we hold the light. You may name them aloud or hold them silently in your heart.

Pause to allow time for people to share names aloud as they desire.

Now imagine those whom you have named being surrounded by light as bright as the candle. Continue breathing and meditating on the names of those you hold in the light in our circle.

After three minutes of silent meditation and holding in the light, share the following:

Offer a moment of gratitude for your loved ones, your communities, and this experience of holding in the light. Next time you see the light of a sunset or sunrise, may it remind you to pause and prayerfully hold someone you love in the light. Amen.

Sharing Around the Table

Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43 NRSV

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
…Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

This scripture, referred to as the parable of the weeds of the field, comes in two parts. The first is the actual parable, and the second is Jesus’ explanation of it to his disciples. The parts are connected to the parable of the sower and its explanation in Matthew 13:1–23 in two ways. One is the reference to sowing seeds in the field, and the other is the word found at the beginning and end of these two parables. The word is listen. Even the expression, “Let anyone with ears listen!” is common to both parables.

Jesus used parables, a well-understood method of illustration among Jewish teachers, to explain the kingdom of God in the future and the present. This is among the first parables in the Gospel of Matthew. In this one Jesus tells his followers he has an important message, and they need to listen carefully to these stories for hints at living in his kingdom.

The parable begins with an illustration of good seeds being sown in a field. While no one was watching, seeds from weeds were sown in with wheat. The servants of the field asked if they should go in and remove the weeds. They are told not to uproot the weeds because that would damage the good roots of the wheat. So the plants are allowed to live side by side until the harvest.

In Jesus’ explanation of the parable, he says it was the Son of Man who planted the seeds. He often referred to himself as the Son of Man to imply he was a dedicated follower of God, but also he was involved in presenting a vision of the kingdom.

Sowing the seeds is a kingdom-building activity. Everyone is given the seed to produce good wheat, but some choose not to accept. We call this “agency.” At some point, Jesus sends his angels to remove the causes of sinfulness, leaving the children of God to shine in the kingdom. The listener is cautioned again to listen.

These scriptures tell us there will be conflicting priorities in our lives. We choose the path before us. We cannot isolate ourselves from those who do not accept the instructions of Christ. We live among them. By our example we copy Christ and affirm his mission of invitation, compassion, and justice. We can invite them to become children of God by providing examples of the compassion and justice we learn from the life of Christ. We listen to instructions and respond as partners building God’s kingdom.

Listening is a lesson in stewardship. We are given the words of a loving God to respond in ministry with God’s people. We can choose to isolate ourselves, confident in the glow of God’s presence, or in generous service we can share ourselves to our true capacity. Today we are reminded to listen to the instructions that give us strength for the difficult journey ahead and share the message of hope with those waiting to be invited.

Questions

  1. How do you navigate the conflicting priorities (wheat and chaff) of the world?
  2. How have you been judged unfairly? How have you judged someone else unfairly?
  3. How have you shared the message of Jesus with another person? What was the response?

Sending

Generosity Statement

Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint.
—Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing, small-group ministries as part of your generous response. This offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God of our discipleship, As we navigate our world of debt and consumerism, help us to save wisely, spend responsibly, and give generously. In these ways may we prepare for the future and create a better tomorrow for our families, friends, the mission of Christ, and the world. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 586, “The Summons”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on the Group

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