Our service opens with Stuart Townend performing his song ‘Vagabonds’ as we continue to reflect on God’s kingdom; what is it, how we build it and who will be welcomed into it.
Jane interrogates Jonathan on The Parable of the Wicked Tenants from Matthew 22. 35 – 46 – why Jesus refers to ‘vineyards’ so often, who stands for what in the story and what might be the ‘So what?’ meaning for us today. Jonathan invites us to consider a question put by a Jesuit priest to his congregation during this time of being out of our church buildings for so long and now finding ways to go back inside them for worship….
Q. If our church was closed down, sold off and turned into an art gallery – for example – what real difference would it make to our community? Of course, we who come here regularly would miss it, but what of others who never step inside? Are we really concerned about that impact or do we think more of our own personal religious obligations and needs? Do we measure the quality of our parish by what goes on in this building or by what happens when we leave it? Obviously, both are important but there cannot be one without the other.
The Church isn’t built of stones – it is built of you and me – the living stones and we in turn are given shape and held together through Christ the chief cornerstone. Stuart Townend closes our service singing ‘The man who calmed the sea’.
This week’s collect is based on the prayer of a 4th century African saint and father of the Church – St Augustine of Hippo. As we offer it in prayer we continue to pray by name for President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, Judy, Rosemond, Stella, Anne-Marie, Derrick, Clive, Derek Angela and Stuart, baby Rupert and mum Katie and dad Sam.
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through 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.
These are such strange times and we can all feel – young and old – really quite afraid of what might be happening next. Susan helps us to deal with those fears and remain hopeful and encouraged.