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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We start with our opening prayer:
God of light and life,
you see all our problems and our pains:
help us to open our hearts and minds to you,
to receive your healing and forgiveness,
and to learn how we can bring hope and healing to others.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 15 May
Readings: Acts 11:1-18 and John 13:31-35
On Monday morning I was woken by a buzzing sound. It was not my alarm. It was a wasp which had flown in through an open window and was now angrily trying to exit through a closed one. Unable to see where the opening was which would provide its escape route it persisted in trying to fly through the closed window.
Human vision is different to that of an insect but often we too cannot see the way we should be going; so, we persist in pursing activities which get us nowhere. It may be comforting to keep doing what we have always done in the past but if it gets us nowhere; it is a futile waste of energy.
It certainly happens in religion. By their nature religious people religiously keep doing what they always have. It is not surprising then that religious’ institutions, whilst being commended for the continuity they offer in a time of unsettling change are, at the same time accused of being out of touch with the needs of the time they are in and their adherents feel frustrated that their efforts to continue the traditions of the past are not getting them anywhere in the present. Unless the way through can be found they eventually die of exhaustion. A different way of seeing what is required is needed.
It is not just us. This has always been an issue but precisely because most of us cannot see a different way, we do not recognise it as an issue.
However, some people can see what most of us cannot. The author of the John version of the Gospel is convinced that Jesus was more than the remarkable patriarchs and prophets that had preceded him in the Jewish tradition of faith. According to John, Jesus was a human being but was also God. John’s version of the Gospel is peppered with things which we are told Jesus did which John claims were signs that prove his point. It is also peppered with things which we are told Jesus said and taught which present a vision of how human life should and could be lived in accordance with the way God seeks human life to be lived which is quite different to the way we are used to and see as the only way of living.
One of those teachings is our Gospel passage today.
This requires that the relationship between his followers is based on love and that this in turn will show how others will know that they are indeed followers of the way of Jesus and be able to see a way in which they too could live and relate to one another.
In other Gospel accounts we are, of course, told that Jesus taught and affirmed that the greatest commandments we should live by were to love God and your neighbour (Mark 12: 29- 31).
But however good and noble living in a relationship of love may be in itself and however many of the problems of our world which we wish were not there are caused by a lack of love; being able to do so cannot be taught or commanded. It has to come from within a person.
We know that if we fall in love with someone; we see them in a different way to the way others do and we relate to them in a different way to the way others do. Their faults and failings can be overlooked because our relationship of love is more important. We give whatever we can to meet their needs because our relationship of love is more important than keeping what we have for ourselves.
Our Gospel passage states that this loving of others by his disciples should be just as Jesus loved them. Jesus was able to love them despite their many unlovable traits because God’s Spirit was within him. Their being able to love another required that same Spirit of God to be within them and, in turn, our ability to love requires that same Spirit of God to be within us – otherwise it is impossible.
One of the enabling things that the Spirit of God is able to give is to change our way of seeing so that we do not just see with our human eyes but with God’s eyes. It is like seeing through lenses that enable us to see what we would otherwise not be able do in the dark or other difficult conditions. With God’s eyes we see others as God sees us and others as someone who loves us.
Being able to see others in this way and being able to relate to others in this way changes what we previously saw as impediments to their potential.
So, when we look at our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see Peter who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. He had been brought up in the Jewish tradition of faith and from his earliest years been taught that, in God’s eyes, Jewish people had a special status. For males this was recognised by their circumcision and for both men and women observance of laws which, they believed, God required them to observe including laws as to what they could and could not eat.
For Peter, having been taught from childhood that this was an essential part of being God’s special people and having faithfully observed this way of living throughout his life until now, including his time as a disciple of Jesus; it was not possible to see that anyone who did not observe those laws could have the same relationship with God as those who did observe them had.
It was not just Peter for whom this was an issue. It was the same for other members of the Church in Jerusalem. In addition to being followers of Jesus, they were also observant Jews and could only see that continued observance of those laws was essential for their own relationship with God and that it was also essential for anyone else to have a special relationship with God.
But despite this upbringing, God’s Spirit present within Peter enables him to receive a different vision and, eventually, the others in the Jerusalem church see it too.
It is a vision which liberates them from only being able to see that observance of the traditional laws of their faith are essential to having a special relationship with God and that therefore those who do not observe them cannot have that relationship. Having been liberated from that restriction to their vision they are then able to see that God’s Spirit can be present in the life of those who do not observe those laws as much as God’s Spirit can be present in their life and those of the other disciples in the early Church.
The new vision that they now have is one that changes their relationship with those outside the traditional Jewish faith to one of acceptance and inclusion as equal co-followers of the way of Jesus and, in consequence, widen their understanding of what it means to love one another as Jesus has loved them.
Most of us are creatures of habit and for most of us the experience of life that we have had so far, and what we have been taught is the way things are, make it impossible to see beyond that experience and teaching.
But our readings today tell us that whatever the limitations of our human vision are; God has a different vision based on love.
The gift of his Spirit within us enables us to see what without it we cannot. His Spirit within us enables us:
- to see ourselves as people loved by God,
- to see others (however different they are to us) as equally loved by God,
- to see others as God sees them and
- to love them as God loves them and us.
Readings for 22 May
John 14:23-29 (NIV)
23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Acts 16:9-15
- Psalm 67
- Revelation 21:10, 22 – 22:5
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 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.
22 May – Christ Church worship group
29 May – Revd Maggie Hindley (URC minister) – communion service
5 June – Christ Church worship group – Pentecost
12 June – Christ Church worship group – parade service
Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend
The church will be closed on Thursday 2nd June and Friday 3rd June for the Platinum Jubilee bank holidays. There will be a Platinum Jubilee-themed coffee morning on Saturday 4th June which will be in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. There will also be a cream tea after the service on Sunday 5th June to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Church charity news
5K sponsored walk for Halo Children’s Foundation
On 4th June 2022, we will be taking part in a 5k sponsored walk at Barra Hall Park, along with other bereaved families, to support Halo Children’s Foundation. Halo Children’s Foundation is a wonderful local charity which helps to support bereaved children and their families through providing support through their regular group sessions, and opportunities to create new happy memories through days out and events. They have been brilliant in helping to provide support for our family, particularly Sophie, since Jessica died in 2018.
If you would like to sponsor us, you can find my online sponsorship page at:
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
Brigades’ Annual Display
This year’s Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Annual Display will take place on Friday 1st July, 7pm – 8.30pm. Please do come along and support our young people.
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, on 28th and 29th May.
Join the ‘Wospian Players’ as we bring the glory of traditional Victorian and Edwardian music hall to Hillingdon in full authentic period costume. With singing, dancing and melodrama from our intrepid band of players, and a vivacious and verbose Chairman leading the proceedings, we can guarantee a fabulously entertaining outing with plenty of singalong opportunities! Tickets are available via the WOS Productions website (www.wos-productions.org.uk) at £15 for adults, £10 for children (12 and under).
My mother loved gardening. Unfortunately my father was not able to do so, as during WW1 he was badly gassed and his lungs ruined and so was always ill. My mother was a Sunday school teacher at Old Meeting House church and from the age of four I was taken to Sunday school in the morning by the Bright sisters and in the afternoon by my mother.
There were very good boys’ and girls’ clubs. The boys’ club was taken by Len Fountain, whose parents ran Hercies Farm. Hercies Farm dairy was situated at the junction between Lawn Road and The Lynch. This was run by the Marsh family. They had a horse and two-wheeled cart. This cart had a very large milk churn in the centre and a half-pint and one-pint measurers hung from the top of the churn. If you wanted milk, you took your jug out to the cart.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Eastcote Methodist
- URC at Eastcote and Northwood Hills
Glorious God, you shine your light
into the dark places of our lives and of our world.
Gentle God, you touch us with your healing love and make us whole.
We ask you to be with us and shine through us this week,
and use us to bring hope and healing to others.
(Taken from Roots)