Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are all keeping well. Our church is open for Sunday services but we will continue to live-stream our services and send out our newsletter regularly for the foreseeable future.
You can find previous issues of the newsletter here. We would love to hear from you and are always 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 the country lanes, speeding motorways and city streets,
of twisting paths, straight streets and hidden alleyways,
of the small gate and narrow path,
we ask for provision for our journey,
and to see you walking beside us,
protecting us, encouraging us, loving us.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, who moves us.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflections from 7 November
Readings: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17 and Mark 12:38-44
In the book of Romans, in the Bible, we read the invitation to offer our lives to God, to help make the world a better, safer place. This is the verse from The Message translation:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.
That is today’s simple invitation. It sounds easy, but it is actually really hard. What do we have, what are some of our skills, that could be used to help make the world a better place? How can we help to show God’s love to the people in our life – our family, our friends, people at our school or college or nursery or workplace, people in our community, and people around the world – even those we have never met.
In a moment, we will hear about the woman who didn’t have very much but was willing to give it up in an offering to support others and the work of the temple. Because she gives what she has, Jesus takes a moment to call over his disciples and point out this act of generosity.
What about us? What about you? What can we do this week to spread kindness, spread love, spread hope? In GB our Juniors have been looking at Kindness for their badgework this half-term, and they learnt about Dorcas who was kind to the poor by sewing clothes for them. You can see what they’ve thought about if you look at the display board in Room 8.
Kindness doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s certainly not difficult! So, let’s all commit to doing one good thing this week, it might be what’s on your card, or it might be something else, taking one part of our life and asking, ‘what would God like me to do with this’. If all of us did that, we could really spread some more love in and around this community, and indeed the world.
Reflections on the readings
This is a reflection on the reading from Mark, written by David Middleton.
I love watching,
I could while away the hours,
The people in the market place,
Going about their daily business.
Shopping for the family,
Thinking about tonight’s dinner!
Looking for something special,
Harassed by the kids,
Talking to their friends,
Avoiding all the others.
Looking for a bargain,
Looking to save a few coppers.
And sat and watched.
It’s even better watching with someone else
particularly a special friend.
To look at life, and try to understand,
what turns us on, what turns us round.
To share our thoughts with a friend
and to share the thoughts of friends.
So I wish I could have sat with Jesus,
and watched the commentary on life.
Would I have been impressed by the big givers,
and ignored the widow’s mite?
Been in awe of the extravagant flowing robes,
and overlooked the widow, dressed in worn out clothes.
Would I have respectfully lowered my head to the religious big wigs,
then craned my neck to look past the poverty stricken widow?
Or longed to sit in the seats of honour,
and shunned the ‘standing room only’ rest?
Then Jesus’ voice breaks in on the silent observation,
‘Come and see what I see!
That widow just there, look! She has given the most.
The others? – yes, they gave a lot … from their surplus;
But she has given all of her all.’
‘Sorry, which widow, Jesus?
Somehow I seem to have missed her
I was lost in my own observations;
Just look at that man over there,
Dressed in his flowing robes …’
This reflection helps us to see the ‘overlooked’ nature of the widow in today’s gospel story. That is there too in the Ruth story from the Old Testament – Ruth is an immigrant in a strange land, a refugee widow with very little means of her own. In the society at this time, it wasn’t easy being a woman, or a widow, or a refugee, or a single woman without a father-figure. Ruth is all four. She could easily have been overlooked by society, and many people in her position and similar positions are still overlooked today.
And in the story we heard earlier, she meets Boaz – her kinsman redeemer – the person who, by marrying her, gives her a way back into society and a way to fulfil her potential again.
Perhaps, in that moment of redemption, of the outsider finding their place, of the unnoticed widow stepping into the light, we see echoes of the Jesus story too. And these stories can remind us that, however outcast we feel, however unworthy, however much we don’t think we can earn our place in God’s Kingdom… there is always a space for the outsider. Jesus, our very own kinsman redeemer, welcomes us back into the fold, into the family, into his kin-dom.
And then the challenge to us is, how does that affect how we treat others? How are we shaped by these stories, and by David Middleton’s reflection, to ensure we get better at including other people in our visions of what the kin-dom looks like, what the church looks like, what the organisations and movements we are a part of look like. Wherever Jesus goes, and throughout the Jesus story, he is always making space for those who others would have considered outsiders. Can we do the same?
So, today, let us make a little space for grace and give up a place for those whom others would disgrace.
Our readings for this week
Mark 13:1-8 (NIV)
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Daniel 12:1-3
- Psalm 16
- Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18), 19-25
We meet at 11am for our Sunday services, which are also 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. This week’s service will be our Remembrance Sunday service, led by Ken Pearce, who is a member of Christ Church and a local historian. Please note that the service will start at the earlier time of 10.50am to allow the national silence to take place at 11am. You can find the order of service here.
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.
14 November – Mr Ken Pearce (member of Christ Church) – Remembrance Sunday service (10.50am)
21 November – Rev’d Julie King (Methodist minister)
28 November – Rev’d Dr Jonathan Hustler (Methodist minister) – communion service, 1st Sunday in Advent
5 December – Ms Catherine Wells (Methodist local preacher)
12 December – Christ Church worship group – parade and gift service
Church charity news
Table-top games afternoon – Sunday 28th November
After the service on 28th November there will be a bring and share lunch. This will be followed by a table-top games afternoon, starting at around 1.30pm, which will be our final fundraising activity for HOPE not hate. There is no charge to attend but we will have a collection jar for HOPE not hate available if you would like to give a donation towards our church charity. Alternatively, you can give a donation via our Virgin Money Giving page in the run-up to this event (please let us know by leaving a comment with your donation that this is for the table-top games afternoon so we can track the fundraising from this event). Please note that our Virgin Money Giving page will close on 30th November.
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/ To make a donation to our church charity online visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Hopenothate-Christchurch
Operation Christmas Child
Thanks to all who have filled shoeboxes and brought them in. 36 in all and possibly more to come, from our congregation, our Brigade families, users of our rooms- anyone who got to know and wanted to send love at Christmas. Thank you also to those who funded a shoebox directly online and those who supported last week’s coffee morning in aid of Operation Christmas Child.
I’ve taken the boxes to the local Collection Centre. Before long they’ll be off on their journeys across the world.
Thanks again – and you could now start gathering together the contents for next year’s box!
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- North Hillingdon Methodist
- Hounslow URC
Lord God, source of all love,
from whom every soul has come,
and to whom every soul will return,
help us to hold close the stories of those
who have gone before us,
and to take comfort from their wisdom.
Let their stories tint our daily life with colour,
and give us hope and light to our path.
(Taken from Roots)