Thought for the Week – The Pearl by Rev Gayle Taylor

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13 v 44-46

What do you most treasure? Perhaps a family heirloom, a childhood toy or blanket, a photograph of a special occasion. Of course, if we’re not talking about material things, then most of us would say we treasure our family and friends. Yet for all sorts of reasons, it is also true that many people do not treasure family and friends and in turn are not treasured by them but find relationships strained and complex, abusive and harmful and at times surface level and unsatisfying. There can sometimes be a dynamic in a relationship that is unequal and insecure.

I read a story recently about an 18 year boy, who grew up without a father and was full of doubt and aggression. The boy started at college and when he got there he was appointed a tutor who he had heard many things about and whose books he was familiar with. Anxious and shamed by the tutor’s confidence and ability, at their first meeting, the young man was very guarded and nervous until the tutor said “you work at the coffee shop don’t you, well, whenever we start our tutorials, I want you to tell me about your work that day.” And in a  moment, the young man thought to himself “I can do that.” That’s what he did and over time he felt it levelled the playing field. . . . Just two men sitting in a room, talking about daily work. And his tutor eventually became a father figure for him.

As a counsellor, a minister and as a person, I have noticed over the years, that it is true for all humans that when you risk sharing what hurts the most, what you are most worried or ashamed about, in the presence of someone you deeply trust then transformation comes at a deep level. Father Richard Rohr says that when you share with someone “who will not invade you or abandon you, you can learn not to invade or abandon yourself.” How often in relationships at work, at school, even with family and friends, do we feel invaded and abandoned? These are powerful, emotive words – invaded and abandoned. At a deep, spiritual level within yourself, when you risk sharing what hurts the most in the presence of someone who will not invade you or abandon you, you can discover within yourself what Jesus called the pearl of great value [Matthew 13:46], your invincible preciousness in the midst of your fragility. This is our core, our God known and loved self.

We can start by naming these hurts and hidden parts to ourselves, in the centre of God’s trusted presence, in prayer.

When we can get in touch with this core of our humanity, we are also at the intersection of spirituality that gives us the courage to face the most broken and lost places within ourselves, believing we will not be invaded (hurt and abused) or abandoned (left unsupported and unmet) by God, our creator who accepts us as we are and sustains us in that brokenness. When we can connect with this acceptance from God in our vulnerability, by learning to be this way ourselves, we can pass it on to others. We can be someone in whose presence it’s safe to be vulnerable and to be open, and truly courageous and strong and powerful, as Jesus was strong and powerful, in the truest, deepest sense of the word – the wounded healer.

This Week’s Prayer and Music (listen and hear these words in a new way):

Sunday Worship – 20th September 2020 by Rev Gayle Taylor

Sitting in different chairs, joining in at different times throughout the day, God’s people still gather for worship on this, the Lord’s day. Welcome, to Sunday worship.

Call to Worship with parts in bold to say aloud:

Based on Psalm 145.

We will extol you, O Lord our God and king,

and bless your name for ever.

Great is the Lord,

and greatly to be praised,

God’s greatness is unsearchable.

We celebrate your mighty deeds,

and proclaim your abundant goodness.

For you, O Lord, are gracious and merciful,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Let us worship God,

let us praise God

in heart, soul, mind and strength.

HYMN Jesus is the Name we Honour

All-Age Prayer

God of love,

thank you for this

wonderful world

we live in.

Thank you for

all the animals,

wild and tame,

on land and in sea

that you have made.

Thank you for

all the amazing

places and people

you have made.

You love it all

you have no

favourites,

everything is equal

in your eyes.

Help us see it all

as you see it

and love it all

as you do.

Amen.

Reading: Matthew 20:1-16 read by Sheila Black

Dramatised reading:

Reflection:

Sunday School for all ages:

Clocks

You will need: paper plates, felt tip pens, card, scissors, split pins, stickers, hole punch.

Give each person a paper plate and ask them to write the numbers around the edge to make a clock face. Give each person some card and ask them to draw, colour and cut out ‘hands’ for the clock. At the base of each hand punch a hole.

Attach the ‘hands’ to the centre of the plate using a split pin.

Ask the children to decorate the clock face with stickers and felt tip pens.

Use the clocks the children have made to tell the story.

Discuss with the children what seems fair and unfair to them in the story. Talk about the story helping us to understand how God loves each of us equally and how we can work together so that everyone has what they need.

Rice Man Social Experiment – Would a Child Help the Homeless?

Do children have the same thoughts and approaches to wealth and poverty that adults do?

HYMN – Christ be Our Light

Prayers for Others and Ourselves

Generous God,

thank you for loving us

and for eternally being willing to forgive us

and let us rebuild our relationship with you.

Lord Jesus, you showed us

by your life how we can let go of hate

and choose to love

and reconcile with our enemies.

As we look at our broken world

we see so many people

who have inherited

centuries of hate and violence

and can see no way out

except through a continuation of

hate and violence.

We thank you for the people

engaging in the hard work

of peace and reconciliation

a work that needs everyone

to sit at the table and be open to each other.

We pray for the people

whose lives have been destroyed

by hate and violence

who continue to live in fear and anxiety

and see no way to peace and safety.

We thank you for the people

using their gifts to enable people

to find safe places to live

and work to feed their families.

We pray for the people

whose lives have been impacted

in so many different ways

by the pandemic of Covid-19;

for the radical changes

that have forced them to adapt and cope

with this new way of living.

We thank you for the people who have led

and advised us through these strange days,

for all who have worked hard to help us

find a way forward and who have put aside

any differences they may have had

and chosen to work together with others

who can bring the changes we need.

Lord, may we be willing to make the changes we need

and to let go of our fears and mistrust of others,

so that together we can all move forward

and find a way of peace and reconciliation

that works for everyone,

whoever and wherever they are.

Amen.

Offering – you can now give safely and securely to the church online via the donate button:

HYMN – Give Thanks

Prayer of Dedication

Generous One,

we cannot thank you enough

for all that you have given to us.

In return for your love and generosity

we bring before you

our offerings of money:

they are but signs and symbols

of our very lives

which we offer freely to you,

today and always.

Amen.

HYMN – Lord for the Years

Sending

God’s unlimited love and grace be with us

as we close our time of worship.

Let us commit ourselves

to taking this love and grace

out into the world in which we live and move.

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all,

this day and always. Amen