Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe. 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 on our church website at www.christchurchuxbridge.org.uk 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:
Father, we thank you that we are loved by you; no matter what.
You call us to let your love flow through us to other people –
including those who may have hurt us.
Give us the grace and compassion to do this,
and give us understanding as we explore this.
(Adapted from Roots)
The church building has now re-opened, however the café has remained closed over the last week. We hope that the café will reopen next week, but please keep an eye on our social media for updates regarding this.
Reflection from 13 February
Reading: Luke 6:17-26
Today there is a lot of pressure on our young people to ‘get qualified’ in order to achieve the best career that life has to offer them. Success is equated with having a fulfilled life. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but Jesus invites us to think a bit deeper. So often we hear people say, ‘I am so blessed.’ This may very well be a great testament to all that is good in their lives, but the danger is that we measure blessedness with what we possess. In other words, the more we own means we are more blessed.
However, Jesus’ kingdom teaching turns this thinking upside down. In Luke chapter 6, Jesus declares blessedness to the poor, to those who are hungry, those who mourn, and to the hated and rejected. This would indicate that his blessedness has nothing to do with how much we own. In fact, Jesus said, ‘Woe to you who are…’ rich, full and laughing (Luke 6.24–25). Jesus was not against people being happy, wealthy and even having treasures, He would just rather that he is our greatest treasure. God wants to be our greatest possession. God is our greatest possession, even if we don’t realise it.
Jesus’ teaching of the woes indicates there are potential barriers to living a blessed life. So how do we live a blessed life? The prophet Jeremiah and the psalmist both point to being rooted in the Lord. To be rooted in the Lord is described as being like ‘a tree by water’ (v.8). We are blessed when we are rooted in Christ. This stems from a deep desire to know him and to have him in every part of our lives. It means we surrender and submit to God. God is the one who keeps us settled and grounded.
Paul writes to the Corinthians that we worship Christ who ‘is proclaimed as raised from the dead’. We are rooted in the one who not only is alive, but also the one who gives life. When we recognise that we are the blessed people of God, we not only live a life that is blessed, we become a blessing to others. It is impossible to keep God’s blessing to ourselves – we desire that others may know God and his blessing. The challenge for us today is to live in the overflow of God’s blessing. Do you recognise how blessed you are? How might you bless someone today? This week’s Bible passages also challenge us to ask: who are the poor and hungry among us? Bless and draw close to them and to all who are rejected. This is where we so often find Jesus. Be blessed and go be a blessing to others.
The following is a contemporary take on the Beatitudes by Nadia Bolz-Weber the American Lutheran minister and writer which she has called ‘Blessed are the agnostics’:
“Blessed are the agnostics.
Blessed are they who doubt. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised.
Blessed are they who are spiritually impoverished and therefore not so certain about everything that they no longer take in new information.
Blessed are those who have nothing to offer. Blessed are the preschoolers who cut in line at communion.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.
Blessed are they for whom death is not an abstraction
Blessed are they who have buried their loved ones, for whom tears could fill an ocean. Blessed are they who have loved enough to know what loss feels like.
Blessed are the mothers of the miscarried.
Blessed are they who don’t have the luxury of taking things for granted anymore.
Blessed are they who can’t fall apart because they have to keep it together for everyone else.
Blessed are those who “still aren’t over it yet.”
Blessed are those who mourn. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.
Blessed are those who no one else notices. The kids who sit alone at middle-school lunch tables. The laundry guys at the hospital. The sex workers and the night-shift street sweepers.
Blessed are the forgotten. Blessed are the closeted.
Blessed are the unemployed, the unimpressive, the underrepresented.
Blessed are the teens who have to figure out ways to hide the new cuts on their arms. Blessed are the meek.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.
Blessed are the wrongly accused, the ones who never catch a break, the ones for whom life is hard, for Jesus chose to surround himself with people like them.
Blessed are those without documentation. Blessed are the ones without lobbyists.
Blessed are foster kids and special-ed kids and every other kid who just wants to feel safe and loved.
Blessed are those who make terrible business decisions for the sake of people.
Blessed are the burned-out social workers and the overworked teachers and the pro bono case takers.
Blessed are the kindhearted football players and the fundraising trophy wives.
Blessed are the kids who step between the bullies and the weak. Blessed are they who hear that they are forgiven.
Blessed is everyone who has ever forgiven me when I didn’t deserve it.
Blessed are the merciful, for they totally get it.”
Stephanie Marr (using the Thought of the Week from Roots)
Readings for 20 February
Luke 6:27-38 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Genesis 43:3-11, 15
- Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
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 led by URC lay preacher, Dr Paul Ashitey.
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.
20 February – Dr Paul Ashitey (URC lay preacher)
27 February – Rev’d Julie King (Methodist minister) – communion service
6 March – Mr Alan Yates (URC lay preacher)
13 March – Christ Church worship group – parade service
Lent Bible Study
We will be starting a Lent Bible study group in the chapel on Saturday mornings, 10am – 11.15am. This will be followed by the weekly time of prayer. The Lent group will run each Saturday, starting on 5 March and running until 9 April.
If you would be interested in taking part in the Lent Bible study group, please let Graham or Louise know.
Church charity news
Our next fundraising event for our church charity will be the Saturday coffee morning on 26 February.
You can find more details about HALO Children’s Foundation, our church charity for 2022 at:
To make a donation to our church charity online visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christ-church-halo2022
World Day of Prayer
Christ Church will be hosting this year’s World Day of Prayer service, ‘I know the plans I have for you’ which has been put together by the WDP organisation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This will be held on Friday 4th March at 2pm and will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page. Refreshments will be served after the service. All welcome to attend.
Girls’ Brigade News
As we couldn’t meet in the Church building recently, we met, instead, at the Iver Environment Centre. The girls made butter (and ate some on crackers), ground some flour, toasted marshmallows and then made and ate s’mores. We all had a great time and plan to go back again in the summer.
A big thank you to Cathy and Andrew who led the evening for us.
Can you unscramble these words to find important words from today’s story?
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Kenton Methodist
- Brentford Free Church (URC/Baptist)
Lord, thank you that we are loved and forgiven by you.
We know it is hard to love those who have hurt us.
Give us your strength.
Help us to love our enemies.
Help us to do good to those who hate and hurt us.
And help us to know when we have hurt others,
and to repent, and to seek only to do good,
in Jesus’ name.
(Taken from Roots)