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Sermon and Worship Resources

8th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 12 (17), year A
Sermon and Worship Resources

  "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field" Mt. 13:31

Texts & Discussion:
Genesis 29:15-28
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
1 Kings 3:5-12
Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52


This Week's Themes:
God's Providence
Despite Human Short-Comings

The Power of Prayer
The Benefits of Devotion


Closing Prayer (traditional Navaho)

Before us it is blessed, behind us it is blessed
below us it is blessed, above us it is blessed,
around us it is blessed as we set out with Christ.

Our speech is blessed as we set out for God.
With beauty before us, with beauty behind us,
with beauty below us, with beauty above us,
with beauty around us, we set out for a holy place indeed.



Children's Message:


Sermon Excerpt:

Believing is Seeing
Matthew 13:31-33
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Those of you who donít know what a mustard seed looks like, it is one of the tiniest seeds youíll ever see. In fact, you can hardly see it with your naked eye. And yet, it grows into a big tree; actually, itís technically a shrub, but it looks like a tree, itís as large as a tree. And many birds will be able to make their nest in itís canopy.

Many preachers through the ages have focused on this amazing contrast, of tiny beginnings that can lead to big results. And in that sense, the mustard seed is a perfect simile to the kingdom of God. Sometimes we see very small beginnings that yield amazing results.

As Madeleine Boucher says, ďMost likely the meaning of the similitude lies in the contrast between the smallness of the mustard seed and the greatness of the full-grown shrub, so large that the birds can find shelter in it. . . . This similitude, then, is clearly about the contrast between the small beginnings and the final greatness of Godís work.Ē

Now, we see very small beginnings in our own faith community. And God wants us to have faith that this humble new church start will grow into something big; something that will change and improve the life of people around us, a ministry that will provide shelter and a spiritual home for people in this community.

I want to read another Scripture passage to you where Jesus talks about a mustard seed: ďTruly, I tell you, ff you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Ďmove from here to thereí and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for youĒ (Mt 17:20). Now, thatís a big statement, isnít it?

If you have just a little faith, you can move mountains. That tiny little faith can move mountains, it can actually move mountains. Well, I donít know about actual mountains, by I definitely believe that our faith can move metaphorical mountains. Your faith can move mountains in your life, in your community. How encouraging is that?

There is a saying in the world ďseeing is believingĒ and a lot of people live by that mantra. People are saying: unless you can show me, Iím not going to believe it.

The truth is that today you often have to believe first before you can see. Thatís true even of the Scientific community. You have to first believe theories before you can understand whatís going on in quantum physics and other physics processes...

click here for the full sermon manuscript.