Jesus carrying the cross

Hello everyone,

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 (publicity@christchurchuxbridge.org.uk)

 

We start with our opening prayer:

God who made us all –
who made us all unique,
unrepeatable, brilliant and brave –
help us to be brave when we’re tired,
and help us to be kind when we’re lazy.
Help us to do things for each other,
so that we can remind each other
of the brilliant ways you made us. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)

 

Reflection from last Sunday: So deeply do we care

Recently I’ve been listening to a podcast by musician and writer Andy Mort. He asserts that gentleness is strength because it remains constant and clear minded across all manner of situations. He uses the image of the nurse tenderly caring for children- a great picture of love and care. Yet that tender care, as I am sure mothers here know, requires strength and determination and sometimes even ‘tough love’. In fact it’s the kind of care Paul talks about in our reading (1 Thessalonians 2:1-8).

As we no doubt realise Christians are not immune from suffering. In The Cost of Discipleship theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer contrasts cheap grace and costly grace. Grace, he says, is costly not just because it has come about through Jesus giving his life upon the cross, but also because of the demands that it makes on his followers.

He wrote: ‘It compels a person to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him. This may result in suffering but God will provide the strength necessary to endure.’ Some of us may want to say Amen to that.

‘What say Ye of Christ?’

That is one of the great questions of theology which has resounded throughout the ages. The answer then and now could have led to complicated theological reflection. However I would like to suggest that for most of us (for most modern theology) the answer to the question is best looked for in relation to what we can make of Jesus’ humanity (He was – we are told – ‘truly man’.) He’d emptied himself – he wasn’t wandering around all the time conversing with angels.

Also, Jesus must surely have had an awareness that the Pharisees were trying to trap him. But he is patient with them!

His response is gentle and mild explaining his deep understanding of the Scriptures. On this special Bible Sunday we do well to remember how Jesus based his ministry and self understanding on the Bible of his day. Do we daily try to deepen our understanding by Scripture reading, and that with the help of appropriate Bible notes?

Basically, my friends, what Jesus is stating here is –

a)            That at the heart of religion is the issue of how to live.
b)            His fundamental beliefs.

In the Gospels we see the steely strength that would see him through to the very contrasting events of the Last Supper which we will shortly be celebrating and also, of course, of the Cross. That strength and determination needs to be added to his manifest gentleness to begin to grasp the full picture of Jesus.

Jesus carrying the cross

And what about Paul? What has he got to tell us about gentleness and strength? He had undergone the life-changing experience on the Damascus Road. He had had to struggle (like others later) to become accepted as a leader of the Christian community. There was struggle involved for him in becoming and being an Evangelist.

Sometimes his views can appear trenchant (to put it mildly!) He had to be strong and yet as a result of all that he had endured he knew that he himself was precious to God and that gave him strength. This he showed in gentleness to God’s other precious children. This is a dynamic for all Christians especially those involved in leadership as elders or stewards.

My friends, in these challenging days we do well to recall the confidence in God which Jesus (and indeed Paul) required to preach in the equally challenging circumstances facing them. As our Lord expressed his authority in self-giving tender care so we must reach out to our neighbour in the same way.
Amen.
Rev’d Andrew McLuskey

 

During our service on Sunday, Andrew referred to the following books:

  • God and the Pandemic, Tom Wright, SPCK, ISBN  978-0-281-08511-8
  • Fresh from the Word, Ed. Nathan Eddy, IBRA, ISBN 978-1-80030-001-9
  • Every Day with Jesus (Nov/Dec 2020), CWR Hughes/Brookes, ISBN  978-1-78951-223-6.

 

 

Our readings for this week:

Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV)

A Warning Against Hypocrisy
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

 

Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:

  • Joshua 3: 7-17
  • Psalm 107: 1-7, 33-37
  • 1 Thessalonians 2: 9-13

 

 

Our worship

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 here. This week’s service will be led by Graham Hinton.

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.

Please note that next week’s Remembrance Sunday service will start at the earlier time of 10.50am.

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

Community Christmas project – handmade Christmas wreath

This week we are sharing a couple of knitting patterns:

Poinsettia pattern
You can find a knitted poinsettia pattern here.


Holly hanging decorations
These cute holly hanging decorations are made with 3 holly leaves – knitted as 1 double and 1 single. (This is better that knitting 3 single leaves, as there are less ends to darn away at the end).

Using 2 strands of green DK yarn knitted together (or one strand of UK chunky yarn) and 5mm or 6mm needles.

Double Holly Leaves (makes 2 leaves joined together)
Cast on 1 stitch
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit 3 times into the stitch (3sts)
Row 3: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 4: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 5: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 6: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 7: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 8: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 9: Slip 1 stitch, k2tog, pass slip stitch over (1st)
Row 10: Knit 3 times into the stitch (3sts)
Row 11: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 12: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 13: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 14: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 15: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 16: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 17: Slip 1 stitch, k2tog, pass slip stitch over (1st)
Fasten off and darn away ends

Single Holly Leaf
Cast on 1 stitch
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Knit 3 times into the stitch (3sts)
Row 3: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 4: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 5: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 6: Knit front and back into the first stitch, k1, knit front and back into the last stitch (5sts)
Row 7: Cast off 1 stitch, k3 (4sts)
Row 8: Cast off 1 stitch, k2 (3sts)
Row 9: Slip 1 stitch, k2tog, pass slip stitch over (1st)
Fasten off

Use the tail of the single leaf to join the single and double leaves together with a sewing needle. Add a hanging cord – yarn, twine, or ribbon all look good. Decorate with a button, bow, applique or holly berry (pattern below).

Berry
Using 1 strand of red DK yarn and 4mm needles.
Cast on 3 stitches
Row 1: Knit in the front and back of every stitch (6sts)
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: P2tog three times (3sts)
Cast off
Tie cast on and cast off tails together (this pulls the berry together).

You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table here. 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.

 

Walking the Way: Remembrance Journey

The following is taken from the URC Walking the Way: Remembrance for whole-of-life disciples booklet and is an abridged version of the journey through the community which you may like to do near Remembrance Sunday. You can find the full booklet here.

If you can, take a walk around your own local area to the local cenotaph or war memorial. If you are not able to do this, imagine you are travelling there.

You will need:
• a Bible
• two poppies
• a stone
• a laurel (or shiny) leaf

Begin your journey by walking to your local cenotaph or war memorial. As you walk, pray quietly for those who travel this way every day.

 

Poppies
When you reach your local war memorial, read Micah 6: 8. Take out one of your poppies. Hold it in your hand and take a moment of silence to reflect.

Two poppies against a white background

Looking at the first petal, remember those who have lost their lives in conflict. Pray that their families and friends will know God’s loving touch and guiding hand in the difficulty and uncertainty of grief.

Looking at the second petal, remember those continuing to suffer as a result of present conflicts. Pray that God will speak the truth to those in power, making them see that war and conflict should be avoided wherever possible.

Looking at the third petal, or the leaf, remember medical personnel, support staff, charities and others who support the victims of conflict. Pray that they will have the wisdom and strength to face the horrors they must in order to save lives.

Looking at the fourth petal, or the stem, think of the tomorrows that are coming. Pray that God will remind you that in everything you do, big and small, you can help to build the word of peace and justice that God wants for all people, and  be bold in doing so.

As you leave the war memorial, leave one of your poppies as a sign of respect and remembrance.  Take the other with you to remember all that you have prayed for.

 

Stone
As you approach your local river, pond or water source, read Matthew 11: 25-30. Take out your stone and examine it. Some stones are rugged and sharp, which reflects the pain and bitterness of life. Others are smooth as their edges have corroded over time, much like ourselves when we feel tired and worn. The stone represents your burdens, the things that weigh you down and prevent you from being fully alive or fully open to living out God’s purposes. When you’re ready, throw your stone into the water. Ask God to take your burdens and concerns, freeing you of them. Like the stone lost in the water, allow God to wash your burdens away, preparing you to live the life of Jesus more closely in your own life.

 

Laurel (or shiny) Leaf
As you make your way home take out your leaf and hold it as you travel. The laurel leaf represents hope and victory. As you touch the leaf’s smooth and shiny texture, think of all the good things in life that shine. Pray the Lord’s Prayer, focusing on the line ”Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.’ When you get home, read Revelation 21: 1-6. The building of the new heaven and new earth is happening right now, in the ways we live out our faith in our own, everyday realities. Pray that God will be with you as you continue to walk the way of Jesus.

A cartoon of a man in too-tight sackcloth talking to another man and saying "Man... this sackcloth totally fit the last time I wore it!"
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc – www.reverendfun.com)

 

Christian Aid: From Darkness to Light online service of reflection

We’ve all been through enormous change and loss during the coronavirus pandemic, especially those of us who have lost a loved one. This year Christian Aid warmly welcomes you to join them on Wednesday 4 November at 5:30pm, in a moment of reflection, which will be held entirely online.

This special service of reflection is a time to come together in our grief, in what has been a difficult year and to remember as well as celebrate those we love, who are no longer here. It is also a chance for those experiencing a more general sense of loss to carve out time to acknowledge and reflect upon these feelings.

The service will be introduced by Amanda Mukwashi, their Chief Executive, and include a sermon from Dr Rowan Williams. It will give time and space for personal reflection, and there will be a moment in the service to light a candle at home. More details of how to join are available at https://www.christianaid.org.uk/events/service-reflection

 

 

Children’s Corner

 

The word 'chosen' written as a starter for an acrostic poem
(Taken from the Roots activity sheet © ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020. Reproduced with permission.)

 

 

Praying for other churches

This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:

  • Hayes End Methodist Church
  • St Andrew’s, Ealing, URC

 

Closing prayer

God give us grace to follow his saints
in faith and hope and love;
and the blessing of the most Holy Trinity,
Spirit, Son and Father,
be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

‘Look-In’ in Lockdown #28
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