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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lord Jesus, by your ascension you left our world,
but you did not abandon us.
You promised the Spirit –
who comes to us and makes a home within us,
who reminds us of you,
who guides and protects us
and surrounds us with God’s love.
Help us to be aware of your presence today.
(Taken from Roots)
Reflection from 14 May
Readings: Acts 17: 22-31 and John 14: 15-21
The first reading mentions the inscription of “an unknown God” and the second about those who have not seen Jesus and it got me thinking about what does God look like but, that was too hard so, I thought about what Jesus looked like.
So close your eyes and make a mental picture in your head of Jesus. Think about what his hair is like, the colour of his eyes and skin, what shape is his face, is he fat or thin, short or tall?
Over the centuries many, many images of Jesus have been made. Like us they can be very different. Most cultures will make an Image that looks like them. Some are made to reflect how they feel about Jesus.
The image above is made with Artificial Intelligence on a computer and the one before by scientists using a 1st century skull so may be more realistic.
Does it matter what our mental picture of Jesus looks like?
What if Jesus looked radically different from the picture in my head or looked like a group of people that are not like me? Paul reminds us that God made everything, and he is in everything, and that he made all the nations, and they are all his and in his image. So it doesn’t matter if there are pictures of Jesus portrayed as a Native American or from various other countries or cultures, because he certainly wasn’t a white European like we often see him portrayed in Britain. Those representations allow us to identify with Jesus because he is like us. Jesus, like us, was made in God’s image even if he looked like a Palestinian in real life. It’s a bit confusing but both can be true. Jesus can look like a Palestinian if we are doing a literal interpretation, but in terms of our faith he looks like all of us: warts, scars, rainbow hair and all variations.
However, at the end of the first reading the writer is warning us off using the images we make. This is so we don’t limit God. Although art can be very useful in our exploration of our faith, it is the Holy Spirit that the second reading from John is alluding to, that will really allow us to know Jesus every day, even if we have never met the actual human Jesus on earth. In two weeks’ time we celebrate Pentecost, the day that the Holy Spirit came down to dwell in the disciples. It’s the promise that this Spirit can dwell in us and be our guide every day that we should be looking to capture.
So, what do I mean when I say the image might limit it. Let’s play a game. I need 4 volunteers. We are going to throw a ball through a ring, first team to five wins.
[In this game one team of two players stood far apart and had a small ring and a big ball. The second team of two players had a hula hoop and a smaller ball and the players stood close together. The hula hoop team was the winning team]
The game is not fair, is it? But when the game is described in simple terms, these terms are the same. One person with a ring, the second with a ball. But if I imagine a hula hoop for my ring and you imagine a tennis ball, we get one version of the game But, if you imagine a wedding ring and I imagine a football, it all goes wrong.
None of the images themselves were wrong, but they can limit the effectiveness of the game.
So, I have concluded that the mental image in my head is fine. It doesn’t matter if it’s different to yours. Why not? The image in my head needs to help me relate to Jesus better and if he needs to look like me to do that, its ok. What really matters however, is that we have Jesus in our hearts. If an image helps with that, that’s great, but it should not limit us from getting to know the Spirit/God/Jesus better.
Readings for 21 May
Acts 1: 6-14 (NIV)
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Psalm 68: 1-10, 32-35
- 1 Peter 4: 12-14, 5: 6-11
- John 17: 1-11
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 Methodist local preacher Jo Davies. 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.
21 May – Jo Davies (Methodist local preacher)
28 May – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and Christ Church member) – Holy Communion
4 June – Christ Church worship group
11 June – Christ Church worship group – parade service
Church charity news
Church charity events
The following events are currently planned to help fundraise for this year’s church charity, Communicare Counselling Service. Details will follow nearer the time.
Table-top sale – Saturday 23rd September
Quiz evening – Saturday 14th October
Silent auction – November
You can find more details about Communicare Counselling Service, our church charity for 2023 at:
Visit to Chiltern Open Air Museum
Sunday 4th June
Join a trip after morning service on Sunday 4th June to the museum, where we can explore the rescued buildings, enjoy the gardens and beautiful Bucks scenery and say hello to the farm animals.
We’ll share cars so please let me know beforehand if you need a lift or can offer spaces. Mobility scooter loan may be possible, but let me know in good time if you need one. Light refreshments available or bring a picnic. Cost on the day £11.50 adult; £10.50 over-60/disabled/student; £8.50 child 4-16, cheaper if you book online yourself in advance. Get in touch if you have any questions.
From the Circuit Newsletter
North Hillingdon Praise Night
This Sunday 21st May is North Hillingdon’s monthly Praise Night. This month’s service is Ascension Praise, featuring plenty of more contemporary worship songs. The service starts at 6.00pm. All are welcome.
Hayes End Ramblers
The Hayes End ramblers invite you to their strolls around Hillingdon. If you would like some exercise and a chat, their next meeting is on 22nd May 2023 at the Swan & Bottle, Uxbridge (by the Canal) at 10.30am.
For a list of further meetings and details visit https://tinyurl.com/hayesendramblers2023
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.
Dates for your diary
21 May – Congregational meeting
4 June – Trip to Chiltern Open Air Museum
10 June – URC Learning Hub (focusing on Whole-Life Worship), 10am – 1pm at St John’s URC, New Barnet
7 July – Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Display
10 September – Congregational meeting
23 September – Table-top sale in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
30 September – URC Learning Hub (focusing on small groups and intentional relationships)
14 October – Quiz night in aid of Communicare Counselling Service
19 November – Congregational meeting
Match the opposite words. Where do these fit into the story from Acts 1: 6-14?
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- North Harrow Methodist
- St John’s URC, New Barnet
Thank you, O God,
that your wisdom is way beyond our imagining,
for we humans make such a mess of things,
we yearn so often for the here and the now,
for the easy ways;
but thank you, God, that you see beyond the here and now
and are not tempted by our easy options.
Thank you that when we set our eyes on the wrong things,
you gently divert our vision to see what you would have us see.
Thank you that when we hear something that sounds more pleasing to us,
your Word remains strong, steadfast and secure
no matter what we do and seek to do.
Thank you for Scriptures that tell your story though the ages,
for the prophets and teachers who bring you to life for us,
who reveal your being to us.
Thank goodness, O God,
that today and every day
you are there, are here, for us. Amen.
(Taken from Roots)