Service Times

St George’s, Tubbercurry: 11.30am Sundays

Killoran (Rathbarron): 10.00am Sundays

 

Priest-in-Charge

 

Revd Peter Norman
Hawkswell farm
Banada
Tourlestrane
Co. Sligo
00353 71 9181685

 

 

 

From: The Revd. Peter Norman

Trinity 5, 12th July 2020

Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

(This is a copy of my sermon prepared for Rathbarron on the above date)

Today we begin again. One the one hand we’re back in a familiar setting doing what we used to do more or less. On the other hand some things look very unfamiliar, not quite like a Church and yet it is. We see familiar faces that perhaps we haven’t seen for a while and yet not being able to socialise as we used to do is very unfamiliar.

The Gospel that we heard just now, the parable of the Sower, definitely falls into the category of being familiar. If you had to make a list of the stories and parables of Jesus then its almost certain that this story would be on the list.

Great crowds of people come to hear Jesus speak. So many that he has to get into a boat and speak to them from there. You can picture the scene, bring it to life in your imagination, see yourself even amongst those who eagerly listen to what he has to say. Crowds of people who come together to listen, to share stories, to be part of something new and exciting, full of enthusiasm as they take in every word that Jesus has to say.

The genius, if you like, about these stories from Jesus is that he takes a familiar scene from the lives of those he speaks too and uses it to get across his message. Many of those who sat there listening to him would have sown seed themselves and could picture exactly what Jesus was saying; seen it for real with their own eyes. And others who hadn’t walked the land broadcasting seed may well have seen it done. Jesus takes the familiar and makes a parable out of it. And because it’s familiar it sticks in the mind – every time anyone from that great crowd of people saw a sower going out to sow it would trigger this memory of what Jesus said.

Great crowds of people nowadays are frowned upon; they pose a risk to public health; they bring a sense of fear and anxiety to many who get caught up in them. Even crowds which don’t exceed the guidelines and with people socially distanced there is a sense of unease. Perhaps you feel a sense of unease sitting back in Church – it’s certainly a different experience. You might not be in your usual seat; you might be disappointed not to be able to sing or to receive communion in both kinds. The experience of those who gathered around Jesus is a distant memory.

And yet in some ways we do the same. Here we are gathered again in the presence of Jesus in a Church building. Not a huge crowd of us but a gathering none the less. Here we meet him again in the bread of Communion, in prayer and in hearing his words in the Gospel.

We may not be part of a large crowd and we may not want to be at the present time but wherever we are and whoever we are with, we are part of the Church which is spread all over the world. We are part of the crowd that gathers around Jesus; we are the body of Christ in the world alongside all the countless others who do as we do now.

Today’s Gospel gives us the words of Jesus as he taught the people from a boat a few yards from the shore. We hear the same words. The message behind those words is the same today as it was then. The Gospel itself is timeless – not just for crowds but for every single person. Not just for that moment two thousand years ago that we read of today, but for this moment in time as well.

Those in that crowd may have been thinking, ‘Where am I in that parable? Are these words of Jesus going to take root in me or will they be swallowed up and forgotten? Will I leave this crowded hillside fired up by what I have heard but then forget all about it as my day to day cares and worries take over?’

Those are the sort of questions we can ask of ourselves as we hear the same parable; those are the questions Christians have asked themselves all through time, ever since Jesus spoke them. Sometimes perhaps we are like the good seed that produces a bumper harvest; sometimes not.

The Gospel reading itself explains the meaning of what Jesus is saying. But the fact that the parable applies as much to us as it did to those two thousand years ago remind us again of how timeless the Gospel is. The Gospel reaches into our lives whatever the circumstances or wherever we are in time.

It doesn’t matter whether we are in the middle of a great crowd like that which heard the parable for the very first time, or in a much smaller gathering socially distanced and sanitised or even just on our own. When Jesus speaks, then and now, he addresses all of his followers wherever they happen to be. Great crowds listen to Jesus every single day, always have done. But the great crowd which listens to him is not necessarily in the same place at the same time. But in listening we hear and in hearing we are invited to become part of that same Gospel story. Invited in particular to be like the good soil which receives the word of God and produces a bumper harvest.

Special Note: In July and August there will be just one service each Sunday as we get used to the ‘new normal.’ Tubbercurry – 5th & 19th July, and 2nd, 16th & 30th August. Rathbarron – 12th & 26th July and 9th & 23rd August. All services will be Communion and at the usual times. From September we will hopefully go back to the pattern of services we had before the lockdown.

These notes will continue in July and August for those who don’t feel quite ready to return and where there is no service in their usual Church. If you have any queries please use the contact details which you’ll find below after the prayers.

These are the prayers that I shall use each Sunday. They will remain on the website with maybe a short addition to reflect the nature of a particular Sunday. They can be used at any time.

After these prayers you’ll find a prayer taken from the Diocesan website and a prayer for a Spiritual Communion.Special Note: In July and August there will be just one service each Sunday as we get used to the ‘new normal.’ Tubbercurry – 5th & 19th July, and 2nd, 16th & 30th August. Rathbarron – 12th & 26th July and 9th & 23rd August. All services will be Communion and at the usual times. From September we will hopefully go back to the pattern of services we had before the lockdown.

These notes will continue in July and August for those who don’t feel quite ready to return and where there is no service in their usual Church. If you have any queries please use the contact details which you’ll find below after the prayers.

These are the prayers that I shall use on this Sunday.

After these prayers you’ll find a prayer taken from the Diocesan website and a prayer for a Spiritual Communion.

Prayers

Father, the teaching of your Son is for all of us in every generation, alone or in the company of your Church. Help us and al your Church to listen to this timeless message and in hearing to live the teaching that he gives.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, your Church has responded to the Gospel in all generations and brought many to faith. May your Church in our own day continue to respond to the teachings of your Son with faithfulness and integrity. We pray for the Church in this Diocese and for Patrick our Bishop. For the Church in this place and all who belong to it.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, help us to continue to care for one another through acts of kindness and compassion as seek to keep one another safe and well at this time. We pray for those in authority who make decisions about our daily life that they may receive wisdom and strength from you for the task entrusted to them.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, your Son gave generously of Himself to meet the needs of others and so we pray for those who serve our needs at this time. For those who supply us with food and medicine, postal workers, the Garda, Carers and all providing essential services.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, your Son showed deep compassion and sympathy for those who suffered or were sick. And so we pray for all doctors and nurses and all working in health services throughout the world caring for those who are sick at this time, especially those suffering from or recovering from the Coronavirus. We pray too for all involved in the supply of medicine and in medical research.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, we commend to you those who suffer as a result of poverty, hunger and homelessness in our world. We pray to for those who suffer from anxiety and loneliness; all who face redundancy and unemployment. We remember too those who are bereaved especially those unable to properly mourn their dead.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Father, you call us to a share in your kingdom when we die and so we pray for all our brothers and sisters who have died; those who have died in the faith and those whose faith is known to you alone. For all who have died recently and those whose anniversary of death occurs at this time.

Lord in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Rejoicing in the fellowship and prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Patrick, and all the saints we commend ourselves and all people to your unfailing love.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Prayer from the Diocesan Website

Almighty and All–loving God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we pray to you through Christ the Healer
for those who suffer from the Coronavirus
in Ireland and across the world.
We pray too for all who reach out to those who mourn the loss
of each and every person who has died as a result of contracting the disease.
Give wisdom to policymakers,
skill to healthcare professionals and researchers,
comfort to everyone in distress
and a sense of calm to us all in these days of uncertainty and distress.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
who showed compassion to the outcast,
acceptance to the rejected
and love to those to whom no love was shown. Amen.

Prayer for a Spiritual Communion for those unable to physically take Communion.

Spiritual Communion Prayer
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
Amen.

If you wish to contact me then please do so by ‘phone 071-9181685 or by email peternorman1959@gmail.com

Take care and keep safe
With every Blessing
Revd. Peter.