Welcome to the latest issue of our church newsletter. 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 on our church website 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 (email@example.com)
Loving Lord, there are many sounds around us,
lots of voices making lots of noise.
Help us to hear your voice:
of peace and comfort and joy,
as you speak into our hearts today. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 23 April
Reading: Luke 5: 17-26
Our church is a member of Inclusive Church, which unites around the following statement of belief:
“We believe in inclusive Church – church which does not discriminate, on any level, on grounds of economic power, gender, mental health, physical ability, race or sexuality. We believe in Church which welcomes and serves all people in the name of Jesus Christ; which is scripturally faithful; which seeks to proclaim the Gospel afresh for each generation; and which, in the power of the Holy Spirit, allows all people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Jesus Christ.”
There can be a misconception that Inclusive Chuch is predominantly about being inclusive with the LGBT+ community, but it’s not just about that – there’s much more to inclusive church. As the statement of belief reminds us, it’s also about economic power, mental health, race and physical ability and today our focus for our Inclusive Church service is on being inclusive when it comes to welcoming those in our community who are disabled or have a disability, however people prefer to refer to themselves. Our service today is taken from material from ‘Through the Roof’ prepared for ‘Disability Awareness Sunday’.
- Why do we need ‘Disability Awareness Sunday’?
- Are we disability aware?
- Do we stop to think about the barriers that might exist for disabled people in everyday life?
- Do we stop to think about the barriers that exist in our own church and in Christian life?
- Is there more that we could be doing to break those barriers down?
- We have such a lot to learn from disabled people – this service is an opportunity for us all to learn
- We want to celebrate the wonderful things that happen when disabled people are able to meet Jesus and be fully included in Christian life
Did you know?
- In the UK there are 14.6 million disabled people (Family Resources Survey, 2021), who need to know that churches are supportive places where they can experience God’s love.
- The last recorded survey suggests 90-95% of disabled people worldwide have never heard the gospel (Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation, 2004).
- Throughout his life on earth, Jesus reached out to disabled people – as we will be hearing during this service.
Jesus still reaches out to disabled people today, and we as the body of Christ today need to respond, so that barriers can be broken down just as they were in the account in Luke chapter 5.
The paralysed man
Take a moment to imagine what life must have been like for the paralysed man before he met Jesus. We don’t know if the man had always been paralysed – for some people disability is life-long, for others it happens through illness or accident or later in life. Being paralysed, he wouldn’t have been able to move around by himself, leave the house or earn a living – he would be completely dependent on others for everything.
It is likely that the only way of him being able to get his basic needs to survive would be to be carried outside into the town square to beg. This same situation happens today in many developing countries where disabled people are still treated as outcasts. Through the Roof ‘Wheels for the World’ mission trips constantly meet people who are in this situation. The trips take refurbished wheelchairs and mobility aids, along with Bibles, for people just like the paralysed man in Luke 5.
What did the paralysed man need? He needed to know Jesus. What do our Wheels for the World recipients need – the need is still exactly the same – they need to know Jesus – demonstrated through the love of Christians providing a wheelchair and a Bible.
The Four Friends
These men were true friends – they saw past the man’s disability. They saw the man himself as a friend and responded to what he needed. They treated him with love, respect and compassion. It probably wasn’t easy carrying the man on the stretcher. We don’t know how far they had to carry him. They worked together and they were determined, because they knew how important this was for the paralysed man.
When they arrived and couldn’t get into the house, they must have felt they were never going to succeed in getting their friend to Jesus. It was a brave idea to break through the roof – what would the owner of the house say, or do to them? They put their friend’s needs before their own safety or reputation. They knew how important it was for him to meet Jesus.
The situation is exactly the same today – it is just as important for disabled people to meet Jesus today as it was then. Through the Roof’s ‘Roofbreaker’ project is exactly this – to break down the barriers that might prevent disabled people from meeting Jesus. It goes further than that too… once someone meets Jesus, they will want to serve Him and tell others about Him too – so barriers need to be removed so that disabled people can not only come to faith, but grow in faith and share that faith in the same way as everyone.
The Bible account says that those who were present when the man was lowered through the roof were ‘amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe.’
The Pharisees and teachers of the law who were present didn’t recognise who Jesus was. Jesus chose a disabled man to demonstrate exactly who He was. Jesus could have just healed the man, but He didn’t. Jesus chose this moment to demonstrate that He was indeed the Son of Man and that He did indeed have authority to forgive sins. What an honour for the paralysed man to be chosen to display Jesus’ authority in this way. How much more important it is to meet Jesus, to know who He is, and to have your sins forgiven than just to be physically healed. Physical healing can only be temporary – our earthly bodies will one day die – but when Jesus forgives our sins, He is giving the gift of eternal life.
So, what impact did it have on the lives of those who witnessed this? Imagine you were one of the people in that crowd. That moment would be a transforming point in your life because of what you had witnessed. That’s why it’s important today to hear about how God still works in and through the lives of disabled people. The personal stories of disabled people whose lives have been changed by Jesus are incredibly powerful. We need to hear more of them, so that Jesus can work through those to transform other lives too.
What do we learn from the paralysed man?
Are we seeking our own encounter with Jesus that will transform our lives completely? Jesus can take our weakness, transform it, and glorify God. Like the paralysed man, our lives will never be the same again once we have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. And of course, then we need to respond and make sure others can come to know Jesus too.
What do we learn from the four friends?
God can use us if we have faith in Him. We may not need to break through roofs, but there are still barriers today that prevent disabled people from coming to Jesus – what can we do? Let’s dig through that roof! Let’s break down the barriers! The barriers might not always be what we would think. The barriers in our churches are not always to do with the building, there can be other barriers too – we need to ask disabled people themselves so that we can break through those barriers as the four friends did.
What do we learn from the ‘others’ in the story?
Are we people who are amazed and give praise to God? Are we ‘filled with awe’ by observing Jesus in action as they were? Or are we like the Pharisees and teachers of the law clinging on to our traditionalism and not being willing to change? If we see Jesus for who He really is, all this will be turned on its head. How will we respond?
It’s time for churches to make sure there aren’t any barriers for disabled people coming to Jesus. Take an honest look, but most importantly ask disabled people if there are any barriers they are facing.
We all need to be transformed by Jesus and that’s exactly what Through the Roof is aiming for. Through the Roof’s mission is: ‘Transforming lives through Jesus with disabled people’. That is exactly what we see in the account of the paralysed man. It is Jesus doing the transforming, but Jesus not only transforms the life of a disabled person, Jesus also works through this person to transform the lives of others too.
Taken from the 2022 Disability Sunday service material from Through the Roof
Readings for 30 April
John 10: 1-10 (NIV)
The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Acts 2: 42-47
- 1 Peter 2: 19-25
- 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. Our service this week will be led by Christ Church member, Louise George. 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.
30 April – Christ Church worship group
7 May – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and Christ Church member)
14 May – Christ Church worship group – parade service
21 May – Jo Davies (Methodist local preacher)
King’s Coronation Volunteering Day
Monday 8th May, 10.30am – 4.30pm
To mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation, Monday 8th May has been suggested as a Big Help Out day where people are encouraged to use the extra bank holiday as an opportunity to get together and help out in their local communities.
We will be hosting our own volunteering day here at Christ Church with opportunities for everyone to join in. No matter what you are good at, there’ll be something to suit helping hands of all shapes and sizes, including jobs that can be done sitting down.
If you can spare an hour… fantastic. The day…? Amazing. If we all do a bit, it will really help a lot. We’ll be meeting at the church from 10.30am – 4.30pm and will have a shared meal afterwards.
Help us to do something amazing. Join in, lend a hand. make a change.
CTU Bible study
CTU Friendly Bible Study series
Tuesdays, 1.15pm – 2.15pm at the Quaker Meeting House, York Road, Uxbridge
18th April – 6th June
Focusing on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. An hour-long session with tea available afterwards. All are welcome.
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Hayes Methodist
- Ealing Green (URC/Methodist)
Know then that God is with you
Even as the days look different
Ask what you can do to make God’s kingdom real for someone
Through what you do: prayer, chat, safe act of kindness
Know God is at work. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)