Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. Hope that you are all continuing to keep well and stay safe. Our newsletter will continue to be sent out regularly to help continue to maintain contact and a sense of community while life continues to be restricted. You can find previous issues of the newsletter here. We would love to hear from you and are looking for uplifting and encouraging content to share in future issues of this newsletter. If you have any ideas or content that we can share, please do email them to Louise (email@example.com)
We start with our opening prayer:
Holy God of strength,
we come to you in our weakness.
Show us how to care deeply
for those around us,
and love others as you love us. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from last Sunday: Third rock from the Sun – all in it together
Well, well don’t we just live in strange and interesting times – locked in, locked up locked out, certainly locked down! Strange times.
For many of us, it was the television, zoom, emails skype and mobile phones that kept us linked in with our families and friends. Thank God then for modern technology. Don’t you think!
One of the most fascinating programmes I watched was ‘The Planets’ on BBC 2 with Prof. Brian Cox. That’s where my thoughts for this sermon came from – the third rock from the sun – that’s us, planet earth, our world. All in it together.
Brian Cox explained the part played by other elements in the solar system in the earth’s amazing birthing process, starting four and a half billion years ago. And it occurred to me how fortunate, indeed how blessed we are, to have inherited such an amazing home for the human race.
Indeed, how remarkable, even unbelievable, that we are here at all. On this, our world – the third rock from the sun.
But here we are – all in it together!
Now there’s a popular phrase we’ve heard a lot of recently, all In it together! Well, putting it bluntly, you wouldn’t think so! Achieving togetherness as a human race continues to be elusive.
The recent massive demonstrations for racial equality point to how far the journey has yet to go, in only this one aspect of human relationships; never mind the ‘me too movement’.
All in it together! Even though we are uniquely different from anybody else – rooted in our DNA, discovered in 1953 (James Watson. Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin). Our personal identity signature.
Even though we have that heady mix of our belonging to our family, our neighbourhood, town, city, country, race, religion – our traditions, rituals, gender, ethnic group and so on. All adding up to our unique individuality.
All in it together seems an impossibility
But, but, but – even though, we are held within an invisible bubble that defines who we are yet is it the very consequence of this that we are able to share our humanity with everyone else as members of the human race.
All in it together O yes. Bringing a celebration of the richness, variety and difference of our individuality.
So we sing together – not in unison but in harmony.
Indeed there is that bonding need in our human nature – that overwhelming yearning for contact with others.
This is clearly brought into focus by the social distancing and the lock-down regime. For many people, a time of trial and anxiety, bereft of personal contact with relatives and friends and feelings of well-being that happen through close contact with loved ones.
And we have come to realise how much we cherish them all. A positive outcome of Covid-19.
I believe as well, we have rediscovered the value of gossiping! The spontaneity of conversation (quite different for emails!)
Let it be hoped that as we move forward into wider and wider bubble relationships, we remain open to others so as to enhance the richness of our relationships, sharing stories and experiences, building understanding and friendships that enable caring and compassion.
All this is summed up in our reading from Luke’s gospel. It is simply behaving to others as you would have them behave towards you. That’s it.
All in it together. Imagine a post-Covid world; a world where there is a great bubble holding all human beings, cherished each by each, all in it together on the third rock from the sun – a fulfilled humanity – that’s the Kingdom of God – you know.
Our readings for this week:
Matthew 22:34-46 (NIV)
The Greatest Commandment
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Whose Son Is the Messiah?
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The son of David,” they replied.
43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says,
44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
45 If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” 46 No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Deuteronomy 34: 1-12
- Psalm 90: 1-6, 13-17
- 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8
Our services take place in the church building each Sunday at 11am and are live-streamed on our Facebook page. If you wish to view our services online, you can find them at www.facebook.com/christchurchuxbridge. You do not have to be a Facebook user to watch them – our services are publicly viewable. You can also view a recent service on our church website here. This week we officially welcome Graham and Joanne as elders in our communion service led by Rev’d Andrew McLuskey. Graham’s induction has taken place via Zoom and will be available to view on our church website, and Joanne will be ordained as an elder during this week’s service.
We were close to reaching capacity last week. If you are planning to attend services and are able to let the office know by 5pm on Thursday we can reserve a seat for you. You don’t have to let us know in advance but if we reach capacity, we will not be able to let anyone else in for the service.
We meet via Zoom immediately after the service for a virtual ‘coffee and chat’. The link for this will be shared in the comments on Facebook during the service. If you are unable to join us in person or online for our Sunday services, but would like to receive a recording of them on a memory stick to watch at home, please let us know.
Church charity news
Virtual sales table
We still have face-masks (£6 donation), crocheted face-cleaning pads (£3.50 donation for a pack of 7) and pot holders (£8 donation) available on our virtual sales table.
You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table here.
Community Christmas project
We are hoping to make a hand-crafted Christmas wreath. The idea is that people make hand-made holly, poinsettia, ivy etc that we then assemble into a wreath. They could be knitted, crocheted, fabric, paper, craft foam or anything else suitable in sizes 2″ to 5″. The finished items need to get to us by 21st November.
Here are a couple of crochet patterns. Knitting ones will be shared next week. You are welcome to use your own patterns; there are lots online. Traditional Christmas colours please. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Joanne (number in directory) and I will send them to you direct.
Special stitch – picot: ch3, then sl st into first ch.
1) Ch9, turn. Work in ‘top’ loop of chain only. 2sc in second ch from hook. Hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, tc in next, dc in next, hdc in next, sc in next. (sc, ch1, sc) in final ch. Turn your work 180 degrees clockwise to work in ‘bottom’ or other side of the chain. Sc in next, hdc in next, dc in next, tc in next, dc in next, hdc in next, sc in next. Sl st into first sc.
2) Sl st into next three stitches, then work a picot. Sl st into next three stitches, then work a picot. Sl st into next two. Sl st into ch1 space, then work a picot. Sl st into next three stitches, then work a picot. Sl st into next three stitches, then work a picot. Sl st into next two. Break off yarn. Sew in all ends.
Christmas Rose – make seven Petals
1) Ch9, turn. Work in ‘top’ loop of chain only. 2sc in second ch from hook. Hdc in next ch, dc in next ch, tc in next, dc in next, hdc in next, sc in next. (sc, ch1, sc) in final ch. Turn your work 180 degrees clockwise to work in ‘bottom’ or other side of the chain. Sc in next, hdc in next, dc in next, tc in next, dc in next, hdc in next, sc in next. Sl st into first sc. Break off yarn. On one petal, leave a tail several inches long. Sew in all other ends.
Pistil/flower centre – make one of these: 1) In a magic circle, ch1 then 6sc. 2) 2sc in next six stitches (12 sc). Break off yarn. Leave a tail to sew this to the petals. Sew the petals together in the shape of a five-pointed star, then sew the circle onto the middle of the star. Sew in all ends.
Gifts and donations can be made online via Virgin Money Giving (https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Hopenothate-Christchurch) or by cash or cheque made payable to Christ Church and clearly marked for the church charity.
Back in the first issue of ‘Look-In’ in Lockdown, we invited people to join in with a creative challenge – to design their own ‘coronavirus’ square, measuring 21cm x 21cm. We are now inviting you to bring your coronavirus square when you are ready to return to the church building so we can display them together. If you’ve not yet created a coronavirus square, you can still do so – it can be in whatever medium you like as long as we can display it on one of the green boards in the vestibule.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Hayes Methodist Church.
- Ealing Green URC/Methodist Church.
May everything we do be guided by the law of Christ’s love; and now may the blessing of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us this day and forevermore. Amen.
(Taken from the Methodist worship at home service sheet)