Trinity 6

6th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY Hymns 353, 439, 384, 367

FIRST READING Genesis 25.19-34 These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the [Lord]{.smallcaps} for his wife, because she was barren; and the [Lord]{.smallcaps} granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is to be this way, why do I live?’ So she went to inquire of the [Lord]{.smallcaps}. And the [Lord]{.smallcaps} said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb,    and two peoples born of you shall be divided; one shall be stronger than the other,    the elder shall serve the younger.’ When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!’ (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Responsorial Psalm 119: 105-112 Response: Your Word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light for my path.

I have sworn an oath and affirmed it, to obey your just judgments. R

I am deeply afflicted, O LORD; by your word, give me life.

Accept, LORD, my freely offered homage, and teach me your decrees. R

My life is in my hands at all times; I do not forget your law.

For me the wicked have set a snare; yet I do not stray from your precepts. R

Your decrees are my heritage forever, the joy of my heart.

I incline my heart to carry out your statutes forever, to the end. R

SECOND READING Romans 8.1-11 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

GOSPEL Matthew 13.1-9,18-23 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’ ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

An opportunity for this autumn? Canterbury Diocese is running an eight-session “Deepening Discipleship” course which will take place on Wednesday evenings via Zoom, beginning on 27th September – thus participants will not be faced with cold and tiring journeys in the evenings. This course encourages participants to reflect on, and develop, their Christian life, and it also provides a starting-point for anyone who is exploring the possibility of undertaking lay ministry. Applications close on September 13th. Visit Deepening Discipleship - Diocese of Canterbury ( for further information and an application form. (Could God be calling you to serve St Michael's as a lay minister?)

The PCC is eager to improve the state of our Halls. By way of a first step, surfaces in the Vestry Hall will be washed down and made good in preparation for re-painting, beginning at 9 am on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th July. If you could give some help on either or both of those days (even just for an hour or two), please speak to Martyn or Paul.

“Creativity Unwrapped” is the theme for this year's Heritage Open Day, which takes place on September 9th. As usual, this Day will coincide with Ride and Stride (the splendid sponsored walking and cycling event that takes place each year in aid of the Friends of Kent Churches), in which Catherine has already volunteered to be a Rider. This is an occasion on which we can welcome interested visitors into our Grade 2 Listed church. Have you any creative ideas, and can you offer help on the day? And can you put some money aside to sponsor Catherine?

Richborough Festival at St Albans. Join this annual day of fellowship and celebration on Saturday 5th August 2023, with Mass in the Cathedral at noon and then bring your own picnic for lunch in Bishop Norman's garden. This is a lovely opportunity to get together with people from other parishes in the Richborough family for inspiring liturgy and a convivial picnic, and also to mark our appreciation of the help and support of Bishop Norman over a number of years. If going to St Albans by car, could you offer anyone a lift?

Have you missed out on the August pilgrimage to Walsingham? There's another opportunity in September, when Bishop Norman will be leading a weekend pilgrimage for members of Richborough family parishes, from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September. To book, please contact the Shrine accommodation office on 01328 820239, indicating when you book that this is for the Richborough Family Pilgrimage. This may be easier for many people to manage than a midweek pilgrimage, and will also of course be less expensive. If you have never been to Walsingham and are inclined to be hesitant, this might be for you. Bishop Norman's connection with Walsingham goes back many years (he was once vicar of that parish), and a Walsingham pilgrimage under his leadership should prove to be a spiritual shot in the arm!

Vacancy News: After the disappointing result last time, we had to request diocesan permission to re-advertise our vacancy. The Archdeacon kindly tells us that we now have this permission. As an advertisement appearing at the beginning of the holiday season seems unlikely to be very productive, we are working towards advertising in September. Please, everyone, keep praying!

It isn't just us…. Maidstone Baptist Church has been without a Senior Minister for four whole years! The good news is that the new minister, from Middlesborough, will be welcomed and inducted on 16th September and that all the Maidstone churches will be invited to send representatives. More information nearer the time.

We look forward to welcoming Archdeacon Andrew, who will be preaching at Mass on Sunday, August 13th. It is good to be seeing him at St Michael's again – please try to be present to greet him.

Our New Area Dean has now been announced! The Revd Chris Goodey, of Boughton Monchelsea, is taking up an appointment near Bristol in the autumn, having heroically functioned as Area Dean of two deaneries since the departure of the Revd Chris Lavender. The Revd Gareth Dickinson, Vicar of St Luke's, is now to be Area Dean of Maidstone, and we wish him every blessing as he undertakes this further role.

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?