Pentecost +6, Year A

Musical Reflection
Two Birds by Regina Spektor



Divine sower,
scattering seed,
never hoarding,
wasting life – or so the world thinks:
give us the depth to receive
the gift so freely given
and the maturity to revel
in love’s abundant, reckless growth;
through Jesus Christ,
the grain of life.
First Reading

To a Sky-Lark
by William Wordsworth

Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
For thy song, Lark, is strong;
Up with me, up with me into the clouds!
Singing, singing,
With clouds and sky about thee ringing,
Lift me, guide me till I find
That spot which seems so to thy mind!

I have walked through wildernesses dreary
And to-day my heart is weary;
Had I now the wings of a Faery,
Up to thee would I fly.
There is madness about thee, and joy divine
In that song of thine;
Lift me, guide me high and high
To thy banqueting-place in the sky.

Joyous as morning
Thou art laughing and scorning;
Thou hast a nest for thy love and thy rest,
And, though little troubled with sloth,
Drunken Lark! thou would’st be loth
To be such a traveller as I.
Happy, happy Liver,
With a soul as strong as a mountain river
Pouring out praise to the Almighty Giver,
Joy and jollity be with us both!

Alas! my journey, rugged and uneven,
Through prickly moors or dusty ways must wind;
But hearing thee, or others of thy kind,
As full of gladness and as free of heaven,
I, with my fate contented, will plod on,
And hope for higher raptures, when life’s day is done.

Second Reading
As Surely as the Dead

by Esta Spalding

As surely as the dead
tulips their
stems triumphant
having poked up through
wilted petals

thy did not finish
their last meal
water still luminous
in the vase half-empty
on the bedside table

beside your glasses
that catch street-
light through slatted blinds
reflecting phases of the moon
onto our walls

above the bed where you
are dreaming
(later you will tell me)
that dream from childhood
the world made known
not by word or name

but by its heaviness
each object – bed  table
lamp  carpet – split
into molecules whose weight & vibration
stand in
for any meaning

as the heart will beat
(you promised me)
long after we’ve declared it

when you woke you said all this
searching for the path back
into dream-clarity

when you woke you
began with the blown-open blossoms
of dead tulips
you said


Gospel Reading
Matthew 13:1-23

That day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he climbed into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore.

He said many things to them in parables: “A farmer went out to scatter seed. As they were scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them. Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one. Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”

Jesus’s disciples came and said to him, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?”

Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kindom of heaven, but you have. For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand. What Isaiah prophesied has become completely true for them:

You will hear, to be sure, but never understand;
        and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing.
    For this people’s senses have become calloused,
        and they’ve become hard of hearing,
        and they’ve shut their eyes
            so that they won’t see with their eyes
            or hear with their ears
            or understand with their minds,
                and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them.

“Happy are your eyes because they see. Happy are your ears because they hear. I assure you that many prophets and righteous people wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear, but they didn’t.

“Consider then the parable of the farmer. Whenever people hear the word about the kindom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path. As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit. As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.”


Musical Reflection
Rock of Ages by Mirah and Ginger Takahashi

by Kevin Griffiths

God of seed, God of soil, God of water and all of creation,
you provide us with all the essential elements.
May we recognise it is our part and our choice
to be open to the nourishment and nurturing you offer.
Grant us the openness to be guided by Your spirit and
to bear abundantly the seeds of potential planted within us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Loving God, within and around us, we revere you.
We seek to live life as you would want us to do;
with love and respect for all people
and all things in the universe.
May we find each day sufficient for our needs,
and find forgiveness when we do wrong,
just as we forgive those who do wrong to us.
In times of trouble, may we centre our lives in you.
For your being is love,
which comes with strength and with beauty,
throughout eternity. Amen.


Musical Reflection
In the Soil by Christine Bougie


Saranam (Refuge) Blessing

Great Creator,
Receive our thanks for night and day,
for food and shelter, rest and play.
Be here our guest and with us stay,
saranam, saranam, saranam.

And may the blessing of God – the Speaker, the Word, and the Speaking,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.



Artwork by Gretchen Bender

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Two Birds by Regina Spektor

Poem To a Sky-Lark by William Wordsworth

Poem As Surely as the Dead by Esta Spalding

Musical Reflection Rock of Ages by Mirah and Ginger Takahashi

Prayer by Kevin Griffiths

Lord’s Prayer by Margaret Rolfe

Musical Reflection In the Soil by Christine Bougie

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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