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Sunday July 12th - Holy Communion

Welcome to our Service of Holy Communion


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Meeting ID: 835 8280 0223 Password: 520477


The Story of Jacob and Esau

We meet in the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.


Hymn: At the name of Jesus -

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are 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 Christ our Lord.


We Say Sorry to God

Jesus Christ, risen Master and triumphant Lord,

we come to you in sorrow for our sins,

and confess to you our weakness and unbelief.

We have lived by our own strength,

and not by the power of your resurrection.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived by the light of our own eyes,

as faithless and not believing.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

We have lived for this world alone,

and doubted our home in heaven.

In your mercy, forgive us.

Lord, hear us and help us.

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Collect

Almighty God,

send down upon your Church

the riches of your Spirit,

and kindle in all who minister the gospel

your countless gifts of grace;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Old Testament Reading: Genesis 25.19-34 read by Sam

19 This is the story of Abraham's son Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel (an Aramean from Mesopotamia) and sister of Laban. 21 Because Rebecca had no children, Isaac prayed to the Lord for her. The Lord answered his prayer, and Rebecca became pregnant. 22 She was going to have twins, and before they were born, they struggled against each other in her womb. She said, “Why should something like this happen to me?” So she went to ask the Lord for an answer.

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations are within you; You will give birth to two rival peoples. One will be stronger than the other; The older will serve the younger.”

24 The time came for her to give birth, and she had twin sons. 25 The first one was reddish, and his skin was like a hairy robe, so he was named Esau. 26 The second one was born holding on tightly to the heel of Esau, so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilled hunter, a man who loved the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home. 28 Isaac preferred Esau, because he enjoyed eating the animals Esau killed, but Rebecca preferred Jacob.

29 One day while Jacob was cooking some bean soup, Esau came in from hunting. He was hungry 30 and said to Jacob, “I'm starving; give me some of that red stuff.” (That is why he was named Edom.)

31 Jacob answered, “I will give it to you if you give me your rights as the first-born son.”

32 Esau said, “All right! I am about to die; what good will my rights do me?”

33 Jacob answered, “First make a vow that you will give me your rights.”

Esau made the vow and gave his rights to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave him some bread and some of the soup. He ate and drank and then got up and left. That was all Esau cared about his rights as the first-born son.

And a reminder -

Song: Purify my Heart -

Gospel Reading: Matthew 13.1-9,18-23

Read by Leonard -

The Parable of the Sower

13 That same day Jesus left the house and went to the lakeside, where he sat down to teach. 2 The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it, while the crowd stood on the shore. 3 He used parables to tell them many things.

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. 4 As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn't deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dried up. 7 Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”

9 And Jesus concluded, “Listen, then, if you have ears!”

Jesus Explains the Parable of the Sower

18 “Listen, then, and learn what the parable of the sower means. 19 Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in them. 20 The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it. 21 But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once. 22 The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit. 23 And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.”


The strength and difficulty of reading the Old Testament is that it tells us stories. Who doesn’t love a good story? But all the time when we read the bible, we’re looking for what does this mean?

Does God let us have this story as a terrible warning or a good example?

How do we work out how to live our lives based on we read here?

So we’re going to look at the story of Esau and Jacob using 3 familiar questions.

What does this tell us about God?

God has promised Abraham and Sarah that they will be the start of a great nation that will bless the whole earth.

After many years and against all the odds, Sarah has a son, Isaac and God tests Abraham’s faith. Does Abraham trust God more than he loves his son? God rescues Isaac and the story continues.

Isaac grows to maturity and again, in answer to prayer, God provides a wife for Isaac. Someone of good character who will be faithful in following God too.

But again in this chapter there is a long delay in fulfilling God’s promise.

God has promised a great nation.

God will bring about a great nation.

It takes such a long time for the next step.

God is faithful- but his people are tested again. And God’s plan doesn’t depend on perfect people or people who don’t make mistakes. God continues, determined to bless the whole earth, despite the people he choose to use.

God continues, determined to bless the whole earth- through those same frail people he chooses to use.

What does it tell us about the people in the story?

Perhaps we have great sympathy for Isaac and Rebekah- particularly for Rebekah. She has given up so much. She left all she knew as a young woman and trekked across the desert to marry a man she doesn’t know. And yes, he’s a good man but they wait decades for the longed for children.

They are faithful; they are resilient. They get, perhaps, that stuff happens. A quick reading of these ancient stories might give the impression- this happened, then that happened and it was all fine and easy.

But we see a long wait; perhaps we hear the mocking and whispering that would have surely gone on.

Why hasn’t Rebekah had a child?

What have they done wrong?

Weren’t they supposed to be blessed?

And then the miracle happens. They have children late in the day. Not one but twins! Surely a great blessing.

But the twins are very different from each other. And the parents relate differently to them.

The seeds of rivalry are there from the start. Does God approve? Or just observe- in the world with free will, God tells us what will happen rather than telling us He intends it this way.

However, God is still at work- despite the rivalry.

Sadly, the consequences of Isaac and Rebekah’s action play out over the years. Their favouritism impacts their family. Their boys- now young men accentuate those differences.

Esau is favoured as a hunter. He has the rights to the land, property and people once Isaac dies. Jacob, perhaps with greater insight, works out what a bad deal he gets under tribal culture.

He schemes and grasps his opportunity.

Esau comes in from hunting – on the brink of starvation. He reacts in the moment- what does a birthright matter if he thinks he’s going to die? He hands his inheritance to Jacob.

In time Esau regrets his rash decision and Jacob has to run away to avoid his brother’s fury. Neither of them win (though it’s not the end of the story).

What does it tell us for today?

Resilient people (people who can keep going when life is tough) recognise some things.

Life is tough.

We would look at these stories and say that following God will have challenges. When the way is tough, we are to hang onto God’s promises. Even when those promises are a long time in being fulfilled. We depend on God being faithful- and no on our own schemes.

We are to focus on what we can do or change. Isaac and Rebekah got their miracle, their twins but they didn’t handle it well. They picked favourites; they had a culture that was unfair. When we are faced with difficult circumstances- what do we focus on?

And what do we that helps us?

Jacob and Esau made a deal; then regretted the deal. Esau was furious- Jacob ran to save his life. But in the end- (way beyond the end of our reading), they did make up with each other.

So what do we find in this story?

God is faithful though life may be tough and promises can take a long time to be fulfilled.

But God is faithful and that depends on what he is like, not what we are like.

Our actions do have consequences, we have the power to make good or poor choices. God still doesn’t give up on us.

The Creed

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,

from whom every family

in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,

who lives in our hearts through faith,

and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,

who strengthens us

with power from on high.

We believe in one God;

Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our Prayers led by John

Let Us Pray

Almighty God, God Almighty

You are God the Father

You are God the Son

You are God the Holy Spirit

You are God of Creation

You are God of Eternity

You are God of the Universe

You are our Beginning and our End

Thank you for today and all its Blessings.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord God you are the Father of all people and we come before you today with our prayers knowing that you will hear us, help us and guide us. Lord we thank you for your love which freely forgives and welcomes us into the family of your church, for your love which abounds in the joy of creation that is all around us,

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord God we pray for your church here at St Catherine’s for our ministers Buff and Julie and we ask for your blessing on our work as we seek to create a church community that welcomes the stranger provides a refuge for those who feel threatened or alone and a place of belonging for all.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord in a world where the peace which is your will seems so far from our grasp we ask you to help us to seek out opportunities to work for understanding and tolerance between people of different religious backgrounds, and we now pray for all communities affected by terrorist attacks

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Almighty, all merciful God, through Christ Jesus you have taught us to love one another, to love our neighbours as ourselves, and even to love our enemies. Help us to see each person in light of the love and grace you have shown us in Christ. Teach us to be compassionate towards the whole human family; strengthen the will of all those who fight for justice and for peace.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for people who are frightened because they are ill. Especially those suffering from Covid-19. Reassure them that because of the knowledge and skills that you give to us, many illnesses and diseases can now be cured. Help them to have confidence in those with medical knowledge to diagnose illness and care for the sick. Give them courage, hope and peace, and the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain, and suffering. We pray especially for those who have no one to help them, that in their loneliness they may know that you are with them.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for those whose hearts have been saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them, We give Thanks for lives of those who have gone before us whether it is a recent death, the anniversary of a death or they are remembered because they were greatly loved.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Lord be with us in the week ahead help us to be strong and not afraid, to be good tempered and considerate, to work hard and not be lazy, to watch our tongues and not speak hastily, to be cheerful even when things go wrong and to act kindly to those we find it difficult to like, help us to receive your spirit through prayer and worship, fellowship and service so that the fruit of the spirit will grow in us, to your glory. We Pray that thy Kingdom Come.

Merciful Father accept these prayers through the sake of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen


The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;

in your love you made us for yourself.

When we turned away

you did not reject us,

but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children

and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross

and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed,

at supper with his friends

he took bread, and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,

send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine

may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of praise

and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

We continue with the words of The Lord's Prayer:

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.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen

We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.

Every time we eat this bread

and drink this cup,

we proclaim the Lord’s death

until he comes.

God’s holy gifts

for God’s holy people.

Jesus Christ is holy,

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer of Spiritual Communion

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen

The 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 almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.


Song: Above All -

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

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