Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. I hope you are keeping well and staying safe. Our newsletter is sent out regularly to share reflections from services, Bible readings and church news to our church family.
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:
Lord, you are the good shepherd,
Caring for your flock with an abundance of love.
Today, I thank you for your tenderness;
For providing rest when needed,
Strength when called upon,
Resilience when pressed,
Compassion when moved,
Constant companionship whilst I navigate life,
Encouragement when disappointments arrive,
Direction when I stumble,
Hope when I despair,
Joy after grief,
Forgiveness and redemption.
You are the good shepherd,
Bringing your flock to safety.
Bringing me into relationship with you.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of our lives.
I press on with the hope of eternity with you. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Reflection from 1 May
Readings: Acts 9:1-6,19b-20, Revelation 5:11-14 and John 21:1-19
A new minister came to the church. We’re hoping to be in that situation here in a while, aren’t we? As the new minister came to the church, everybody was out for the first Sunday to hear how he got on and what the service was like. Afterwards the elders had a little huddle in the corner and said that was a good reading and a good talk.
After the second Sunday, they did the same and one of the elders was brave enough to say, “I’m not sure about this, but wasn’t that the same reading and the same talk?” And they agreed that was actually what had happened and debated whether or not to say anything but decided that they would give the new minister the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was new place nerves, or he got the wrong book or something.
So they carried on to the third Sunday. After the third Sunday the elders gathered and they were sure this time they’d had the same reading and the same talk for three weeks. There’s something wrong here, they thought, so they appointed one of their number to approach the minister. The elder said, “I hope you don’t mind me raising this, but we’ve noticed that for the last three Sundays now, you’ve given us the same reading and the same talk.”
And the minister said, “Yes. And I’ve noticed that you haven’t done anything about it!”
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”
“Feed my lambs. Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes Lord, you know that I love you.”
“Take care of my sheep. Do you love me?”
“Lord, you know all things, you know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep.”
Three times. This final chapter of John’s gospel, if you have a look later, has all the appearance of being an add-on. The previous chapter seems to end the book. And this chapter seems to have added, as something that’s been remembered and was felt to be too important to be left out. The feeling I get about it is that with Jesus no longer with the disciples physically day-by-day, they felt lost. And those whose living had previously been being fishermen on the lake had gravitated back to the beach, not knowing what else to do. And Peter said in their fed-up-edness, “Well, I’m going to go fishing.” Something he knew how to do and which would occupy him. And the others said, “Why not? We might as well come too.” And in that frame of mind, they caught nothing.
And I just wonder if we are in a bit of a state of mind of fed-up-edness at the moment personally with Covid which has changed our lives, made our contact with our families and our friends very difficult and affected the things we can do or can’t do. We even had to go to golden wedding celebrations two years late.
The group who are following the Stepwise course in our church at the moment, ‘A Faith Filled Life’, have chosen as their project to ask people about how Covid has affected them and their futures, and as a church, with lots of social contact restrictions on top of all the usual ones of safeguarding and data protection and fewer people, and no minister to solve all the problems for us.
Then they hear the person on the beach, not anyone they recognize, but giving them advice. I again get the feeling of ‘why not?’ as they do what he suggests, but what a result.
Whatever you make of the number 153 which is in the reading there, and there are those who say that 153 was the total number of types of fish that were known at that time. If you look it up on the Internet, you’ll find all kinds of mathematical suggestions about what the 153 is about, which I can’t follow at all, but there’s no doubt that what we’re being told is that having Jesus on board, or on the shore in that case, made all the difference.
And when he’s told it is Jesus, Peter put his coat on and jumps in the water. Interesting thing to do. He seems to want to be dressed to be ready when he meets Jesus. It does say the boat was about 100 yards out, so I suppose it could have been a wade rather than a swim, but whichever, Peter’s joy is so great that he’s into his being-with-Jesus mode again. When Jesus is around, he’s the centre of life. He is for us too. And Jesus is cooking their breakfast on a fire on the beach and serves it to them in a way that reminds them of the Last Supper. Jesus, the Servant King.
But it didn’t end there for Peter, and it doesn’t end there for us. This is our Easter season. Jesus is resurrected, alive, and if you like on the shore of our lakes, our personal lakes and our church lake, ready to feed us and care for us and revitalise us when we are down. And be our Servant King.
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Did you notice the ‘these’? I thought what’s the these all about? What does he mean ‘love me more than these’? Was Jesus referring to the other disciples? Did Peter put human relationships before his relationship with Jesus? Was he referring to the fish? Was Peter quitting when the going got hard and going back to his old life or was Jesus reminding him of his protestations of loyalty too and just a short while before followed by his denials of even knowing him, which also featured a fire and three times, if you remember.
And so I think we need to ask ourselves, do any of those things apply to us in this Easter period?
One of the commentaries I found about this passage said this, and I didn’t think I could put it any better, so I’ve just copied it. It said there are several things we can draw application from in this passage:
One, Jesus forgives us just as he forgave Peter. Even if we fall and we can get back up and do great things for him. Don’t give up. Recommit to him and the Lord will use you.
Two, there is a cost to discipleship. If we want to do great things for the Kingdom, we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves in many ways. Like Peter, we must understand that there is a cost for following Jesus, and if we want to accomplish great things for him, often the cost is higher, but the rewards will be worth it. It made me think about one of the first readings that Stephanie read for us, where certainly Paul’s conversion and all that followed highlights that.
And then the third thing that this person said. I was so overjoyed because it’s a little saying that I use. It says, finally, a very simple thing we can remember daily that will help bring joy to our lives is the following: Jesus first, others second, yourself last. The first letters spell JOY, and it says go and be joyful.
That’s the instructions to you all this morning, so these are things for us individually and as a church, where we have to keep feeding and caring for his lands and his sheep in Uxbridge and around here as our priority.
Jesus’s final words to Peter are “follow me.” And he’d said that when he first called him, and the other fishermen, you’ll remember with that wonderful witty thing about making you fishers of men that must have caught their attention. And he says it again whenever a new beginning is needed. He said it when he first called you. You’re all here because somewhere along the line you’ve made a decision to be here, because you want to hear more about Jesus and you want him in your life.
Do you remember that time when that started? For some it might be so long ago, that it was almost part of your childhood. But many people can put a time on that when it was personal to them, and he says it again to us now. “Follow me.” To us as individuals, to his churches, in this Easter season.
Do we love him? Are we responding Jesus first, others second, ourselves last? Each of us here or at home, the whole of Christ Church, we are asked to go and be joyful. Because the Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Amen.
Readings for 8 May
John 10:22-30 (NIV)
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Acts 9:36-43
- Revelation 7:9-17
- Psalm 23
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 parade service will be led by members of Christ Church. 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.
8 May – Christ Church worship group – parade service
15 May – Mr Richard Reid (Methodist local preacher)
22 May – Christ Church worship group
29 May – Revd Maggie Hindley (URC minister) – communion service
Church charity news
Our next two coffee mornings in aid of our church charity will be on 14th May and 28th May
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
I Say, I Say, I Say!
Louise will be performing in ‘I Say, I Say, I Say! A Tribute to Old Time Music Hall’ with WOS Productions at St Lawrence Church Hall, Eastcote, at the end of May.
WOS Productions has delved into Music Hall’s legacy of songs to put together a sparkling collection of well-known favourites such as “Don’t Dilly Dally”, “Waiting at the Church” and “Daisy, Daisy” for plenty of singalong opportunities, along with a few rare gems to share with the audience. Come to just the show or enjoy traditional pie and mash before the performance starts.
Tickets are available via the WOS Productions website (www.wos-productions.org.uk) at £15 for adults, £10 for children (12 and under) and £10 for an additional dining and drink ticket. There are three performances as follows:
Saturday 28 May: 15:30 (15:00 dining start)
Saturday 28 May: 19:30 (19:00 dining start)
Sunday 29 May: 15:30 (15:00 dining start)
From the Methodist Circuit newsletter
North Hillingdon Spring Fair
North Hillingdon Methodist Church is having their annual Spring fair on Saturday 7th May from 11am to 2pm. There will be lots of plants and Books for sale as well as Carole’s Café (Light lunches, sandwiches, filled rolls, tea, coffee, etc).
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Cannon Lane Methodist
- Acton Hill (URC/Methodist)
you lead us through life’s ups and downs
and are with us in every circumstance.
Blessing, glory and wisdom,
and thanksgiving, honour, power and might
be to our God for ever and ever.
(Taken from Roots)