Carlops Zoom Service:  Sunday 19 July 2020 10am   

Welcome and lighting of candles (Adam and Galina)


Call to worship (Patsy)

Though physically separated,

we join now in fellowship:

to seek our unity in the Spirit,

to seek the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

to seek the peace of God the Father.

God’s people have gathered:

Let us worship him together.


Hymn: O God, you search me and you know me (CH4 97)


O God, you search me and you know me.

All my thoughts lie open to your gaze.

When I walk or lie down you are before me:

ever the maker and keeper of my days.


You know my resting and my rising.

You discern my purpose from afar,

and with love everlasting you besiege me:

in every moment of life or death, you are.


Before a word is on my tongue, Lord,

you have known its meaning through and through.

You are with me beyond my understanding:

God of my present, my past and future, too.


Although your Spirit is upon me,

still I search for shelter from your light.

There is nowhere on earth I can escape you:

even the darkness is radiant in your sight.


For you created me and shaped me,

gave me life within my mother’s womb.

For the wonder of who I am, I praise you:

safe in your hands, all creation is made new.



Bible Reading

Matthew 13: 24-30 and 36-43.

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.’”

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!


Reflection (Mary)        

Sowing and reaping in a chaotic world

We read of wheat seeds sown to produce a harvest; to nourish the sowers and their dependents. There are also weed seeds growing among the wheat sharing the nourishing support of soil and weather.  Why are the weeds a problem?  Because they will reduce the quality of the harvest; and that will limit the capacity of the wheat to nourish the sowers.

Gardeners have been known to complain about the invasion of weeds from neglected neighbouring fields or gardens.  But we also know that even in carefully cultivated ground a varied burden of stray seeds – left over from previous harvests, blown in by the wind or dropped by passing wildlife will readily take root and thrive.

Our acre of rough paddock at Kitleyknowe came to us freshly cultivated and sown with grasses for grazing.  I delighted initially in these hip-high summer grasses moving like silk in a breeze; and later in the discovery of clover, buttercups, even wild orchids.  But years later I am frustrated by the vigour of rushes, thistles and moss which tend to choke the grass and flowers.

Our field has a 12” layer of topsoil over who knows what depth of clay.  Untended, it sets like concrete in dry weather and the surface squelches all through an average Carlops winter.  We don’t work the surface layer, but we cut the whole field every two to three years.  And we cut broad paths through the paddock several times every year, between spring and autumn. 

Today the field is a wonderland of wildflowers along these broad paths, and our trees and hedging are flourishing.  There is some clean, vigorous grassland – and there are large patches of rushes and thistles which I’m learning to “appreciate”.   Grasses, wildflowers and weeds have grown together over the years to produce an interesting yet ever-changing community of plants.  Through time they seem to give and take location and vigour according to some invisible plan.

Through the years I’ve come to understand that cultivation for a healthy harvest requires constant attention and effort.  Ground untilled for years will compact, weather is unpredictable, growing conditions change.  Some seeds will like the new conditions, some will just give up.  The nature of the harvest will change, not necessary for the worse, but always as a challenging reminder not to lose focus on the outcome we had in mind? 

Our reading speaks of different kinds of seeds.  It is usual to understand that we, God’s people, are the seeds – that some of us are good seed and others the potential weeds.  Today, I offer a different possibility – that we are the fields on which the seeds fall and that our words and actions are our harvest.

These words and actions are the product of our nature and our nurture, our upbringing, education and our life experiences; moderated so far as we are willing by God’s commandments and Jesus’ teaching. 

This is a parable about community and our collective experience. This is what life is like: a mixture of good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, rich and poor, wheat and weeds!  God the creator provides the field and the seed; the quality of harvest is our responsibility.

God wants us to see the possibilities of his Kingdom in every aspect of our lives, even in things and people that we don’t rate highly at first.  And He wants us to act on all these possibilities.  These are our wheat seeds, sown in our everyday care for those around us, family, friends and neighbours.

Jesus’ teaching and example show us how God has equipped us to control our weeds; to do that we must choose to cultivate the life-skills born in us and subsequently tested by life’s many challenges. 

Observing the fields and gardens around us, we see the struggle between the weeds and the gardener’s plan.  We can imagine our human condition as a garden needing to be cultivated continually – and with love. 

Our minister puts it beautifully in his reflective space this week. “We need to readdress how we grow together, nourish each other and live in community.  It seems that the instinct of God is to let all grow together”.

“We might rather clear out the bad, get rid of the weeds, separate the godly from the ungodly … yet ours is not to judge but to keep our face towards the sun – and to keep our eyes focussed on God until we grow to full maturity”.


Prayer (include brief quiet time)  (Julie)

Let us pray


Our father God, we bring thanks for the week that has passed and hope for the week to come.

All things are under your care, let us put our trust in your plans.

We thank you for cheerful faces, full flowering gardens, tuneful voices and other things that lift the soul.

We are grateful to meet together in this now familiar way which unites us afresh.

Today we pray for congregations around the world who cannot meet in this way and miss fellowship.

Lord, we pray that our leaders show wisdom and a heart for people as they make decisions in the coming weeks.

We pray for change in so many things.


Let us take a moment now to bring our prayers to you.


God we thank you that you hear our prayers, may we speak to you often.

We ask these things in Jesus’ name,



Closing words and Benediction  (Murray)

Sung Blessing     

May the God of peace go with us, as we travel from this place;

May the love of Jesus keep us, firm in hope and full of grace.