The Present and Hidden Kingdom

By Johnny Tuttle

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

I am a sucker for the universality – the “catholicity”[1] –  of this string of parables. They seem concerned, not simply with identifying the Kingdom of God, but the universal reach of its presence.

Certainly, the mustard seed is a speck in the field. Yet, as the parable announces, it grows into “the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” I suppose you could debate whether the mustard seed is indeed the smallest seed, or whether it is the greatest of shrubs when it is grown; I’ll pass on that debate. It seems the point, rather, is that the entirety of this “sprawling” plant – one large enough to house the birds of the air in its branches – is contained by the seemingly insignificant seed. Read more

Weekly Prayer – week 2

We will gather again this week for prayer on Zoom at 9pm eastern/ 6pm pacific. If you’ve already registered, you can join directly at this link: Evening Prayer. If you would like to register for the upcoming service, you can register here: Registration. 

At our first service, we had about a dozen people from places throughout the U.S. You can view the text from that service (and from future services) here. 

Though we regret that we won’t be gathering this year, we are glad that we can stay connected in this small way. If you can’t join us but have a prayer concern you’d like us to be aware of, you can email info@ekklesiaproject.org or leave a comment anonymously on this Google form. If you are interested in helping to plan or lead upcoming evening prayer services, you can contact us at the address above.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

George Herbert-Lectionary Poem for the Second Sunday After Pentecost

Throughout this church year, The Englewood Review of Books has been curating a weekly series of classic and contemporary poems that resonate with the themes of the lectionary readings. Here is one of the poems for this coming Sunday (Second Sunday after Pentecost – More poems for this Sunday can be found here)

 

Grace
George Herbert

 (to accompany the lectionary reading: Romans 5:1-8)

MY stock lies dead, and no increase
Doth my dull husbandrie improve:
O let thy graces without cease
               Drop from above!

If still the sunne should hide his face,
Thy house would but a dungeon prove,
Thy works nights captives: O let grace
               Drop from above!

The dew doth ev’ry morning fall;
And shall the dew out-strip thy Dove?
The dew, for which grasse cannot call,
               Drop from above.

Death is still working like a mole,
And digs my grave at each remove:
Let grace work too, and on my soul
               Drop from above.

Sinne is still hammering my heart
Unto a hardnesse, void of love:
Let suppling grace, to crosse his art,
               Drop from above.

O come! for thou dost know the way:
Or if to me thou wilt not move,
Remove me, where I need not say,
               Drop from above.

*** This poem is in the public domain,
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.

George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognised as “one of the foremost British devotional lyricists.” He was born into an artistic and wealthy family and largely raised in England. He gave up his secular ambitions in his mid-thirties and took holy orders in the Church of England, spending the rest of his life as the rector of the little parish of St Andrew’s Church, Lower Bemerton, Salisbury. He was noted for unfailing care for his parishioners, bringing the sacraments to them when they were ill and providing food and clothing for those in need. He was never a healthy man and died of consumption at age 39.  (bio via Wikipedia)