Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. Hope that you are all continuing to keep well and stay safe. We are back in lockdown once more and unable to meet together; however we are continuing to try and maintain our church community as best we can. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with our opening prayer:
God of consolation,
in all the stories of our lives, you are with us.
As we turn to each other, and turn to you,
may we give and find all the comfort that we need,
knowing that it is in such shelter
that we hear the echoes of your great kindness. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from last Sunday: Actions speak louder than words
I am so old that I can remember before sellotape, before staplers, before photocopiers (when the typist used to smack hard on the keys to make carbon-paper impressions on up to 5 sheets of thin paper – called flimsy), before mobile ‘phones and before – you know what’s coming! – computers. Oh, and my watch is an hour fast at the moment because I don’t know how to reset it for the change last weekend and I haven’t since seen James, who, alone in the whole world as far as I know, has the secret.
Yet, for all that, my final working job was as a trainer on a computer database system! But I had a note on my monitor which said:
“I really hate this darned machine;
I wish my boss would sell it.
It never does what I want –
Only what I tell it.”
Now that doesn’t exactly echo what Jesus was saying to the crowds and his disciples, but it is a sort of example of me saying what I believe should be done, but the outcome being different. Jesus is asking his listeners, and us, to be aware of this in others and in themselves/ourselves.
We might sum up what Jesus was saying in expressions we use today – “They say one thing and do another”, or “He’s all talk and no action”, or “Her actions don’t match her words”, or “It’s all show”, or Tyndale’s words of translation from this Bible passage, which we still use today; “They don’t practice what they preach” and “they are not willing to lift a finger”; or, when we recognise this in ourselves, “Don’t do what I do – do what I say.” It’s when the emphasis is on the wrong things – like saying LonDON instead of LONdon. As a member of our Church used to say, “The empharsis is on the wrong syllarble.”
What messages do we get from our Bible readings today?
The Psalm set for today is Psalm 43, just 5 verses. 4 of utter despair about the then current conditions, but with a final one; “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will praise him, my Saviour and my God.” What a message as we perhaps despair about our COVID situation, especially after yesterday’s announcement. “Put your hope in God…” Don’t see the glass half empty, see it half full – and filling. Put your hope in the promises of God.
Paul, Silas and Timothy, writing to the first followers of Jesus at Thessalonica, speak about how their first priority was to nurture and support their brothers and sisters there, “as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God…”, they say – all alongside working for their livings – “… we worked day and night in order not to be a burden to anyone…” as they put it. Putting the things of God first.
And Jesus, speaking to the crowds and to his disciples, which includes you and me today, I think gives several messages.
One is – Don’t copy what other people do, just because they do it. They may be saying the right things, the things of God – both Paul and Jesus, in these passages, say that the word of God can come to us through others – and not realising that their actions are contrary to their words.
And – Don’t yourselves say one thing and do another. I sometimes realise that I’m doing the very same thing I’ve criticised in others. Another is – Think it through; take those words of God, the words and example of Jesus and make your own response. – a response not of ceremony or show, but of service.
Another is – Keep the things of God and the teachings of Jesus front and centre in your life. – we have one Father and one Teacher, Jesus says. And another – God’s joy in you and me is in the service we give to others.
These are messages to us as individuals, and to us together as a Church, as we find the way, in our present difficulties, to express the love of God to one another and to all in need whilst we can’t meet together freely. As individuals, still finding ways of supporting others, both within and beyond our Church; as a Church, meeting for services, Bible exploration, prayer time. All are welcome – see details are on the Church website.
I’m also old enough to remember from Sunday School a memory phrase about what brings about Christian joy; J – Jesus first, O – others next, Y – yourself last.
There used to be a poster around, asking, “If you were taken to court charged with being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to secure a conviction?”
With God as our Father and Jesus as our Teacher, may our actions match our words and our empharsis be on the right syllarble.
Our readings for this week:
Matthew 25:1-13 (NIV)
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Joshua 24: 1-3a, 14-25
- Psalm 78: 1-7
- 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18
Although we cannot meet for worship in the building at present, our services continue to be live-streamed on our Facebook page at 11am each Sunday. If you wish to view our services online, you can find them here. 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’s service will be our Remembrance Sunday service, led by Methodist local preacher Jo Davies, and 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
Silent Auction in aid of HOPE not hate
The catalogue is nearly done and will be available by Monday. (Technical issues have slowed us down). There are plenty of Christmas present ideas in there and you can find it at https://christchurchuxbridge.org.uk/activities/churchcharity2020/
once it is available.
How it works
- Have a look at the catalogue and see what you like.
- Then send us your bid. You can do this by email, phone or post.
- You won’t know what other people have bid but you can up your bid later if you wish.
- Get your bid to us by 11pm on Tuesday 24th November.
- The winners will be notified shortly afterwards and then you pay.
- You can pay online to our Virgin Giving page or by cash or cheque on delivery.
- We will arrange deliveries as needed.
- If you opt to have an item posted to you that will be done within 3 working days after receiving payment.
- Any item that needs to be made can be delivered to you in time to post in for Christmas to the UK unless otherwise stated.
Send your bid to us via:
Phone: Cathy Simpson (number in the church directory)
Post: c/o Joanne Mackin, 13 Cleveland Rd, Uxbridge, UB8 2DW
You can find more details about our church charity fundraising events and items on our virtual sales table at https://christchurchuxbridge.org.uk/activities/churchcharity2020/
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.
Seven Swans a Swimming (Plus Two)
For my regular exercise I often walk through Fassnidge Park. On the River Frays, which runs alongside the park, live a pair of swans and I usually see them near the Lynch bridge where New Windsor Street crosses the river. Each year they produce a family of cygnets and in previous times I believe that many of the young ones have not survived into adulthood for various reasons. This year things are different. There are seven ‘children’ which have all survived and continued to grow. They still ‘live with’ their parents and they are now losing their adolescent grey plumage and becoming fully adult. Someone living locally has told me that there was an eighth which has also survived but has been moved elsewhere by one of charities that cares for swans. This family of swans have been quite an attraction for those passing by and it is good that they have been able to flourish during this ‘strange’ year of 2020.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Kenton Methodist Church
- Brentford Free Church (URC/Baptist)
We have been gathered in by you, God,
the source of all wisdom and wonder.
In your infinite kindness, you show goodness to all.
May we, who have been nurtured by your consolation and welcome,
share consolation and welcome with all we meet,
knowing that from your great goodness,
all goodnesses flow.
(Taken from Roots)