EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST 23RD JULY 2023

Come Follow Me - Genesis 28-36: "Jacob's Ladder" - YouTube

OPENING SENTENCE-

You are acquainted, Lord with all my ways.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA sung by Dougie Byers

COLLECT

Grant to us, Lord,

the spirit to think on those things that are right,

and always to be ready to do them;

that we, who, without you, cannot be alive,

may have the strength to live according to your will;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord

who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING Genesis 28:10-19a read by Kate Lidwell

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a stairway set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring, and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

A PLACE OF AWARENESS, REALIZATION & HOLINESS (Gen 28:16) – Weefree  Ministries

So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.

SECOND READING Romans 8:12-25 read by Margaret Morton

So then, brothers and sisters, we are obligated, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if we in fact suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Future Glory

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God, for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its enslavement to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning together as it suffers together the pains of labour, and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope, we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what one already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Looking Forward with Hope – Romans 8:23-25 - OnePassion Ministries

HYMN

GOSPEL READING Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43 read by Rev Ann Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 13 beginning at verse 24

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

The Parable of Weeds among the Wheat

Intertwined | - Covenant Christian Church

He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field, but while everybody was asleep an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No, for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

MATTHEW 13:30 (Today's Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:24-30 or 13:24-43) | A  CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGE

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Weeds

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord

SERMON

Another Fine Mess (Short 1930) - IMDb

You may recall Laurel and Hardy’s best-known catchphrase: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” Today we see Jacob in a mess but it was by and large all of his own making.

What was Jacob’s Predicament?

Jacob had robbed Esau of his birthright and so to escape Esau’s wrath Jacob fled from his home and kindred. It had been a long journey. Two days of 500 miles took Jacob from Beersheba to a place called Haran which was located not far from the southern border of modern Turkey. Two days of walking gave Jacob plenty of time to think and ponder on what he had done. Two days to wonder what might have been. He left home so quickly. It wasn’t the beautiful send-off he wanted. No, he hurried out of town lest Esau should decide to take matters into his own hands. Jacob was running for his life, relationships broken, family ties destroyed.

Now, on the evening of the second day, as the sun sinks over the western horizon, Jacob stops for the night. He’s come to the outskirts of a city called Luz, a place unknown to him, a city filled with strange and possibly dangerous people. So filled with fear was Jacob that when he came to Luz, he dared not enter the city, even though night had fallen.

Outside the town, on a hillside strewn with rocks and boulders, Jacob made his bed. In that part of the world, night comes quickly. In the gathering darkness Jacob rests his head upon a large, flat stone. I imagine he had a hard time sleeping that night. As he reminisced in his mind, I wonder if he thought about his family. Did he worry about his aging father? Did a silent tear slip down his cheek as he remembered waving goodbye to his mother? Did his face turn crimson in the darkness as he replayed his shameful deceit? Did a bullet of fear strike his heart as he thought about Esau’s pledge to kill him?

iBIBLE

I’m sure he thought about all those things, and much more, as he tried to sleep on a rocky bed under the stars with a stone for a pillow. As the stars came out, and the strange sounds of night filled his ears, Jacob realised that for the first time in his life he was truly alone- homeless, penniless, and helpless.

He had only himself to blame. That much is sure. And I’m sure he didn’t argue that point at all. For he was the one who cheated his brother. He was the one who lied to his father. He was the deceiver. He was the scoundrel. He was the one who broke up his own family.

“Jacob, you fool. No wonder you sleep uneasily tonight. No wonder you dream strange dreams. Your heart is heavy because your conscience is guilty. Your hands are not clean. Jacob got what he wanted. That night alone on the hillside, outside the city of Luz, resting his head on the stone pillow, he could only reflect on the terrible price he paid for the thing he wanted so much.

God had never spoken to Jacob before. For all the years of his life, God had never spoken directly to him. To his grandfather Abraham—yes. To his father Isaac—yes. But to Jacob—no. For his whole life he had lived on the borrowed faith of his father and grandfather. He was raised in their faith, was taught their faith, knew their faith, and even believed their faith, but he had never had a personal experience with the God of his father and grandfather. To Jacob it was all second-hand reality.

The amazing point is that God now speaks to Jacob at the moment of his desperation. Even his deception and trickery was used by God to bring him to this precise moment in life. Now that he is running for his life, now that he is leaving the Promised Land, now that he has disgraced himself, now that he finally reached the bottom, at that exact moment, God speaks to Jacob. C.S. Lewis said that God whispers to us in our pleasure and shouts to us in our pain. Pain, he said, is God’s megaphone to rouse a sleeping world. Now God moves to rouse Jacob even while he sleeps.

How God makes his presence felt

Stairway to Heaven

In Jacob’s predicament, God makes his presence felt. It happens in the form of a strange dream. In his dream Jacob saw a stairway (the Hebrew word is sullam. It can mean “ladder” but more typically means “stairway.”) descending from heaven to earth. The key point is that Jacob sees this stairway resting on the earth right where he happened to be.

On the stairway Jacob saw the angels of God going up and down the stairs. It’s worth noting that not many people in the Bible ever saw angels. Most people lived their lives and never once saw an angel. But here and there, at certain critical moments in history, God allowed a few people to see his angels at work. It’s as if God would draw back the curtains at a crucial moment to let someone see the angels of God at work behind the scene. Jacob is one of those lucky few.

What are the angels doing? They are taking messages from earth up to heaven and messages from heaven down to earth. They are heavenly couriers who report to God concerning the situation on the earth. They also carry out God’s will—answering prayers, giving guidance, providing protection, fighting for the people of God, fending off the attacks of Satan.

At the top of the ladder stood God himself. Just think about that. Jacob at the bottom, God at the top, a stairway filled with angels in between. What does it mean? The message of the dream is this: “Jacob, I’m nearer to you than you think I am. Although I am in heaven and you are on earth, there’s a stairway that reaches from me to you. And my angels are constantly watching over you. They tell me what you need and I send them back to earth with my answers. I’m not very far away. In fact, I’m with you wherever you go. When you travel, my stairway travels with you. I was with you in Beersheba. I was with you when you tricked Esau. I was with you when you deceived your father. I am with you tonight. And I will be with you in Haran. Everywhere you go, I will go with you.”

Yeshua~Shalom on Twitter: "RT: @HeatherPlonski1 Behold, I am with you, and I  will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this  land, for I will not

Did you notice that in his predicament, God’s presence is felt and that God makes promises to Jacob. It’s a message about the nearness of God. In order to help Jacob understand it, God reaffirmed the promise he had made to Abraham and Isaac:1. I will give you this land. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. All peoples on the earth will be blessed through you.. I will watch over you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land.. I will not leave you. It becomes clear that God is meeting Jacob at the point of his personal need.

Think of all the needs that these words address: Shame: “I am the God of your father Abraham.” Betrayal: “I am the God of Isaac.” Loss of his homeland: “I will give you this land.” Insignificance: “All peoples on the earth will be blessed through you.” Loss of his family: “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth.” Fear of the future: “I am with you … wherever you go.” Fear of Failure: “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Jacob now receives the very same promise God gave his grandfather and his father. In addition, God promises to be with him while he is in Haran and to bring him back someday to the Promised Land. This is exactly what Jacob needed to hear on the eve of his journey to Haran: At this point Jacob feels: Guilty about his past/Fearful of the future/Uncertain in the present.

Ima on (and off) the Bima: Real-Life Jewish Parenting: TorahMama: Vayetze

To all of that, God simply says, “I will be with you.” It’s a total solution to guilt, fear and anxiety. Through all of this Jacob is learning the lesson that there is no place he can go where God is not already there. “Surely God is in this place”.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME

Jesus, true shepherd of your sheep

you gathered your disciples around you.

Draw your church close to you,

and when your disciples are weary and exhausted,

renew and refresh us in your life and love.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Jesus, true shepherd of your people,

you break down the divisions

of birth and creed.

Unite as one body

in our love, mission and service.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Jesus the good shepherd - Believers4ever.com

Jesus, true shepherd of your sheep,

Your attention to your children

in their time of need is wonderful.

We marvel at the way you revealed yourself to Jacob

and reassured him of your presence and love.

Particularly in times of extremity, draw near

and bring the wisdom, love and care we need.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

23,769 Compassion Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

Jesus, true shepherd of your people

look with compassion

on all who are struggling at this time,

with broken relationships,

with financial difficulties

and with business concerns.

Draw them close to you

and meet them at their point of need.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Peace Security Stock Illustrations – 5,934 Peace Security Stock  Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Jesus, true shepherd of your sheep

protect those whose lives are in danger

as a result of conflict, famine and disease.

We lift to you especially at this time Ukraine,

Russia and Sudan and ask for peace and safety.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Considerate Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Jesus true shepherd of your sheep

come with your healing touch

to all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit.

Enfold them in your love and care.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Jesus true shepherd of your sheep

we bring before all you have died

and pray that perpetual light

might shine upon them

and they may rise in glory.

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Stream COME AWAY AND REST AWHILE // QUIET PLACE // Lynette Leach // 12.1.20  by Ringwood Church of Christ | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Jesus true shepherd of the sheep

guard our hearts and minds.

Give us the longing and desire to come with you

to a quiet place and rest,

and may we like Jacob be aware

that “surely God is in this place.”

The Lord is my shepherd

There is nothing I want.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

HYMN

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BLESSING

The peace of God,

which passes all understanding,

keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God,

and of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord:

and the blessing of God the Father,

the Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen

DISMISSAL

Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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St John's Church

6 days 23 minutes ago

Sunday 16th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is no Choral Evensong at 6pm

St John's Church

1 week 6 days ago

Sunday 9th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is NO Contemporary Service at 6pm

St John's Church

2 weeks 6 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John’s Church will

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John's Church will