Saint Leonard’s Servicefor Second Sunday after Trinity13th JuneWelcome to our OpenCast church service - on-line.There are prayers, readings, hymns and music; just as you would have in church.As you read through this service you may care to say aloud the bold text.To hear the music and the readings, click on each title (red, underlined text) (and remember to adjust the volume on your speakers).Let us pray:Creator God, we bring to you all that is growing within us: for you to bless and nurture.We bring our prayers for the coming of your kingdom: for you to bless and nurture.We bring a longing for peace and justice: for you to bless and nurture.We bring the hopes and dreams, tiny and big, of all your children around the world:for you to bless and nurture, In Jesus’ name. Amen. Hymn:“God is Working his Purpose Out“Arthur C Ainger (1894) Tune: BENSON : Millicent D. Kingham (1894)Performed by The Joint Hymnal Choiran Anglican Church Choir of choristers from different Churches within the Diocese of Namirembe and Kampalawhich is based at St. Francis Chapel, Makerere University (Uganda)We praise the LordGod of grace and growth, you have called us to plant the seeds of your kingdom in the fields of your world,and to trust you for their developing and flourishing – and so we praise you.Amen.Bible Readings:Old Testament:Psalm:New Testament:Gospel:Ezekiel 17.22-24Psalm 92.1-4, 12-152 Corinthians 5.6-10, 14-17Mark 4.26-34AudioAudioAudioAudioClick these links to hear the readingsTextTextTextTextClick these links to read the textA Reflection for this weekTowards the end of last year, the biblical scholar Paula Gooder – who’s also a Reader and Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral – published a book on the parables. Having heard her talk on a number of occasions, and having always been struck by what she’s had to say, I immediately bought a copy, thinking it might be helpful when we have a parable for our Gospel reading.As luck would have it, since buying the book hardly any of the parables have appeared in our readings! We’ve had large chunks of the discourses from John’s Gospel, reports of a whole number of discussions between Jesus and his disciples, and stories of all sorts relating to Jesus’s life – but hardly a parable in sight. However, today’s the day. We have two short parables – the growing seed and the mustard seed – and we’re told: “With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.” Having acquired Paula Gooder’s book, I thought some words from her Introduction might be helpful:There is something about the parables that, for me at least, captures the essence of Jesus. They are playful and thought-provoking. They cannot be easily tied down. So often when I think of the parables I imagine Jesus with a twinkle in his eye or a raised eye-brow, waiting, as we reflect on them, for us to discover the sting in the tail, that moment of discomfort that means we have to think again about ourselves, or God, or the world in which we live – or even all three. In the parables Jesus dances one step ahead of us, challenging us to leave the comfort of what we know we know and instead venture into a new world in which the familiar becomes strange and we have to think, and think, and think to unravel how we might make sense of what is laid before us.Jesus finds the subject matter for his parables, of course, in ordinary things and events around him: seeds and lamps, farmers and parties. But in those ordinary things and events, Jesus perceives the extraordinary – strange truths which convey to us what Jesus calls “the kingdom of God”. So it is with today’s two little parables – a parable about seed growing which speaks of the mystery of unseen, miraculous growth, and one about a mustard seed, speaking of the amazing transformation of seed into a tree.On the face of it, the way Jesus teaches in parables seems to be at odds with what Paul writes to the Corinthians in our New Testament reading. Paul says, “we walk by faith, not by sight”. But faith doesn’t mean a denial of reason – taking refuge and resting in a kind of faith that we never think about. Far from it – faith is restless. It means refusing to be content with how things are, refusing to assume that nothing can change.If we walk by faith then we are open. We’re open to the possibility of change and transformation, to truth beyond what our eyes and minds can configure, to the possibility of a world made new, to what Jesus calls “the kingdom of God”.Paul goes on to say “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; everything has become new!” Jesus saw parables in the ordinary things and events around him – he saw parables which spoke of the kingdom of God. Perhaps our calling isn’t just to repeat the amazing parables that Jesus has given us, but to hold our eyes and our minds open to the seeing the extraordinary in that which is all around us in our world. Let me finish with a poem by R S Thomas, called THE KINGDOMIt’s a long way off but inside itThere are quite different things going on:Festivals at which the poor manIs king and the consumptive isHealed; mirrors in which the blind look At themselves and love looks at themBack; and industry is for mending The bent bones and the minds fracturedBy life. It’s a long way off, but to get There takes no time and admissionIs free, if you will purge yourselfOf desire, and present yourself withYour need only and the simple offeringOf your faith, green as a leaf.AmenWorship Song“Worthy of it All”Lyrics / chord sheetIntercessions Taken from ‘Roots for Churches’Eternal, ever-present God, visible and yet invisible, we bring our prayers for those we know and those unknown to us.We seek to journey with you and with them, to support and uphold them with prayer and love.For those who journey with illness and pain, transform them by your grace.For those searching for meaning and purpose, transform them by your grace.For those wanting to belong and yet seemingly always on the edge, transform them by your grace.For those who lack confidence in themselves, transform them by your grace.For those who have no faith, no vision for an eternal future, transform them by your grace.For those who live with lies, secrets and untruths, transform them by your grace.For those who live without the very basic foundations of life: without food and water and homes, transform them by your grace.By praying for these, we know that we must walk and work hand in hand with you, to relieve their suffering and pain.We trust our prayers, our loving and our living, to your almighty and eternal presence.Amen.Closing Prayers[The Irish Blessing]May the road rise to meet you,may the wind be always at your back,may the sun shine warm upon your face,the rains fall soft upon your fields,and until we meet again,may God hold you in the palm of his hand;and the blessing of God almighty,the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,be among you and remain with you always.God of the small, help us to do the little things that make a difference.Amen.God of life, take our hopes and let them grow, so that others may see your love and find a home in you. Amen.God of surprises, as we go on our way, may we delight in your growth, flourish in your love, and share your hope with the world. Amen.Through everything I experience this coming week, with all its ups and downs and emotions, help me to hold fast to the joy and hope your resurrection brings. Amen.____________________________________________Postlude‘LieberTango’by Astor Piazzollaperformed byYo-yo MarThis internationally esteemed Cellist was recognised the other day performing, incognito behind his face-mask,for a queue waiting for their Covid vaccinations.He was also the subject of this week’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme on the BBC Radio 4 -one of the world’s longest-running broadcasts, having started on 29 Jan 1942.