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:
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever.
Let us praise our marvellous God as long as we live.
May our meditations be pleasing to him
as we rejoice in the Lord and all he gives us.
Let us praise the Lord. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 29 May: Where did Jesus go?
Readings: Luke 24: 44-53 and Ephesians 1: 15-23
So, you are one of the disciples who have been meeting the risen Jesus over the last forty days, He’s been talking to you about how the scriptures predict everything that has happened. He has told you that you will all be filled with the Holy Spirit and has asked you all to stay in Jerusalem until this happens.
Now he takes you all on a walk. From Jerusalem, he leads you up and over the Mount of Olives towards Bethany.
Put yourself, in imagination, on that walk. Let your senses and imagination play freely as I talk you through. This is YOUR Ascension Day.
What do you see? Olive trees, perhaps, and your fellow disciples, and Jesus leading the way. You might look back and see the Holy City behind you.
What can you hear? Birdsong, the crunch of walking feet, the hum of voices, city sounds behind you.
Feel the air, cool or warm, on your skin. Feel the ground, stony or grassy, under your feet.
What smells are there? How is the taste in your mouth? What are your feelings as you make this little journey?
Now Jesus stops, and turns. He says familiar words of blessing. And then he floats gently upwards into the sky until a cloud comes over and you can’t see him any more. What does that look like? Hear his voice as he speaks those last words of blessing. Is there a change in the temperature? Smell? Taste? How do you feel?
What are the words that come to your lips as Jesus goes back home? Take some time to let them rise up within you.
When you are ready, open your eyes and come gently back to this room, this church, this community.
Where did Jesus go?
Our lives are full of partings. My daughter has a four-month-old and it’s a big deal for them both just to leave him with his dad while she gets her hair cut or goes for a swim. I’ve just come back from a month in Palestine, and I had a heart-in-mouth parting as I left home and sadness and concern as I left my new friends to come back. Yesterday I preached at the closure of the church where I used to be the minister So sad! So many memories… Every one of us, I guess, knows the heaviness of losing a loved one, especially if that person has passed away too soon.
If we’re following the church’s year, then today we’re with the disciples processing a very big parting, the one we just imagined together. Thursday was Ascension Day, when Jesus left them finally. They would never see his face again. They would never hear his voice, encouraging or scolding or blessing them. They would never share a meal with him again. That must have been huge.
In some ways there’s a rehearsal for this on Holy Saturday, between the crucifixion and the resurrection, when the disciples are numb with grief and unable even to attend to the body of Jesus because of the Sabbath regulations. Christian tradition – and one line in 1 Peter – have it that that Jesus was busy that day, that he went down to Sheol to bring out those faithful souls who hadn’t had the chance to know him. There’s a tiny little hymn in Rejoice and Sing (231) that celebrates Holy Saturday:
Your body in the tomb, your soul in hell,
and with the dying thief in paradise,
enthroned as God, in holy Trinity:
Christ, filling all things, ever unconfined.
Christ, filling all things, ever unconfined. That’s an answer to our question Where did Jesus go? Paul tells us more: Jesus is with God in glory, and with the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
The difference between the waiting on Holy Saturday and the waiting in the time between Ascension and Pentecost is that the disciples have now experienced the resurrection and received the promise from Jesus of the Holy Spirit. Now they wait with expectation and with hope for the empowerment that is coming to them. So I don’t suppose they grieved for the loss of the physical Jesus; I think they were waiting in awe, with faith, for Jesus to enter their lives in a new way.
There’s a pattern – you can see it on Holy Saturday and post-Ascension and also in the Transfiguration and the stilling of the storm and the raising of Lazarus too. Jesus is present and known; then he isn’t present; then he reappears in a new way. It’s as though by taking time out he creates a thinking time for the disciples, a chance to understand him in a deeper way, a chance to be ready for a more complete self-giving on their part. Where has Jesus gone? Filling all things, he also fills the hearts and minds and lives of those who love him.
Where has Jesus gone? Next week, Pentecost, will tell us the answer; an answer that we already heard from Paul. Jesus, source of good news, source of authority, source of love, source of courage, is being rebirthed in the lives of the disciples and in the church. They are changed from timid listeners to bold speakers, from passive followers into active leaders, from learners into teachers, from those who ran away and left Jesus when there was danger to those who calmly face all their opponents throw at them, and finally, most of them, give up their lives the way he did.
If we have the courage to live the story, to say goodbye to childish expectations of our life with Jesus, what might that look like? Maybe a bit like Mrs Armitage with her car [from the story ‘Mrs Armitage – Queen of the Road by Quentin Blake]. We might find that, though we came to Jesus for comfort (and that’s fine) we now experience Jesus as a launch pad into things that are quite new. That we are able to broaden our interest in and concern for our neighbours and for the world we live in. We might find that though we came to Jesus – rightly – for forgiveness, we are able to see what is for the best for self and others and work to make that best come about. We might find that though we came to Jesus – who else? – for peace, Jesus is asking us to be builders of that peace. I wonder what you need to leave behind… I wonder what the new call is to you, as an individual, today? I wonder what the fresh call is for this church in Uxbridge, as you look to the future?
These ten days between Ascension and Pentecost, days Jesus’ disciples spent in prayer, are given to us as a threshold between the old and the new. I invite you to sit and listen to God in all simplicity. It’s OK to be uncertain what the future holds and what God wants for us; it’s a time to open ourselves to that future with Jesus. It’s OK to mourn a little for the things we need to leave behind – old habits, old expectations, old traditions; it’s a time to let them go. It’s a time when God can do really effective work with us, moulding us into the Christians and the church he needs us to be.
And then, like Mrs Armitage in her stripped-down vehicle, we can embrace the new with courage and vitality and a spirit of celebration. Then, like Jesus, released, unconfined, we will be free of self-concern, filled with the knowledge of how Jesus fills the universe, light-hearted. I wish you deep times of communion with God in the next week, and all the joy in the world at Pentecost.
Revd Maggie Hindley
Readings for 5 June
Acts 2:1-21 (NIV)
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
Peter Addresses the Crowd
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Psalm 104:24-34. 35b
- John 14:8-17
- Romans 8:14-17
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. Our service for Pentecost this week will be led by Christ Church worship group. 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.
5 June – Christ Church worship group – Pentecost
12 June – Christ Church worship group – parade service
19 June – Mr Ken Pearce (member of Christ Church)
26 June – Revd Stephen Poole (Methodist minister) – communion service
Platinum Jubilee Civic Service
There will be a civic service at St Margaret’s Church on Sunday 5th June at 3pm to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This will be followed by a Jubilee tea. All are welcome at this service of celebration.
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, Louise, Michael, Sophie and Thomas George 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 our online sponsorship page at:
Film afternoon – Saturday 9th July
We will be showing a family-friendly film in the chapel from 1pm on Saturday 9th July. Popcorn, drinks and other refreshments will be available. There is no charge to attend but we will have a collection jar for HALO Children’s Foundation if you would like to donate to our church charity.
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.
Last year our Company planted a rose tree, ‘Never Forgotten’ in memory of Alan Hollaway, just by the rear entrance of the church, opposite our BB garden.
Last Friday, (a year to the day later) we placed a permanent plaque by its side as a reminder of the lifetime of dedication Alan, (a founder member) gave to 1st Uxbridge Boys’ Brigade Company. Also fitting that this was done in our 70th year.
Join the dots to show what is giving Peter the power to speak.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Hayes End Methodist
- St Andrew’s, Ealing URC
The Kingdom of God is justice and joy,
And we go out to seek that Kingdom,
To celebrate in that Kingdom,
To bring that Kingdom about,
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)