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)
You invite us to go on the greatest adventure ever.
May we rest in your giant loving arms
and know your presence with us.
May we find safety and security there.
Raise us up that we may find strength when we are weary
and energy when we are faint,
so we never fail to praise your holy name.
(Adapted from Roots)
Reflection from 28 May
Readings: Acts 2:1-21 and Psalm 104:24-34,35b
This is Pentecost Sunday, and we probably all have in our minds, an image of the disciples in hiding after Jesus’s crucifixion and ascension. They have no leader. Well, that’s the way it seems to them. They have no direction. Have they given up? Are they in despair? Are they pleading with God to show them the way ahead? Whatever the situation was, and whatever we might think about a description of a house being filled with a strong wind and flames touching every person, it’s quite clearly a description of a life-changing moment. And somehow, they make their way outside the house and are able to speak to each other and be understood by others in different languages. It wasn’t life-changing just for them. It was life-changing for the world.
I think the different languages part is very significant because God communicates with each individual in a way that they can understand. It’s not exactly our human languages. God has ways to get through to us the things that are important, and we should do. It’s no longer as with the Tower of Babel in the Old Testament, when languages were created to confuse human beings who were trying to reach above God. Pentecost is confirmation of a different relationship between God and his people where all communicate. And it’s right that every year on the church calendar we include this day.
The other thing you probably also remember about this event is where the people in the crowd say, “these people are drunk!” Well, I don’t know if people say that about you when you’re speaking with enthusiasm about your faith. But it’s not surprising if non-believers wonder what’s wrong with us. I remember an American exchange minister here called Bill Seaman saying, “Christians believe the unbelievable.” Unbelievable, that is, to those who have not received the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit isn’t something that God invented on that day. The holy part of the title comes into the New Testament, but the Spirit of God is there at the very beginning of the Old Testament: the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And the Spirit was in those words of Joel. It was in the coming to life of Ezekiel’s bones. It was in a warrior in the Old Testament; it was in an artist in the Old Testament; it was in the Psalm that we read together this morning. The Spirit of God. It’s the action bit of God. And Jesus promised Pentecost, the Holy Spirit in his place.
You’re probably all familiar with the Bible reading that so often comes into funerals where Jesus talks about there being a place for everyone with his father, a room for everyone. “And I will ask,” he goes on to say, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to be with you.” ‘Advocate’ is the word used in the version of the Bible that we use here. Other versions say helper, comforter, intercessor, counsellor, strengthener. So, you begin to get an idea of the width of the Holy Spirit, the vitality of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus goes on to say, “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.” The Holy Spirit is our invisible supporter, enabler, driver. And it’s the third part of the shorthand, isn’t it, that we use so often to describe God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we say. The executive, the doer, the urger, the empowerer in our Christian lives.
And so today especially, we commemorate his existence and his coming to the world in a new way, and we must never forget that the Holy Spirit is at work today. He’s in each one of us and he works through us. We can be sure of his support and of his strength. We can have, or we can be involved in, life-changing moments every day with the help of the Holy Spirit. And after our next hymn, Lawrence will be coming forward for confirmation of his faith and become a member of this church. And he will say that he has come in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been at work again. And the Holy Spirit is always at work in individuals, in churches, in movements, for the bringing about of God’s Kingdom. Let us give thanks to God for his Spirit alive in his creation and alive in us, and welcome the Holy Spirit again today.
Readings for 4 June
Matthew 28: 16-20 (NIV)
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Genesis 1: 1-2, 4a
- Psalm 8
- 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13
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 a Climate Sunday service led by Christ Church member, Joanne Mackin. 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.
4 June – Christ Church worship group (Joanne Mackin) – Climate Sunday
11 June – Christ Church worship group (Neil Mackin) – parade service
18 June – Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim (Methodist minister) – Holy Communion
25 June – Peter Davies (Methodist local preacher)
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.
Dates for your diary
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
22 June – Congregational Meeting, 7pm
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
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Northwood Methodist
- St John’s, Northwood URC
God of adventure,
thank you that no matter where the journey may take us,
you will always be by our side,
giving us renewed strength, vision and hope.
(Taken from Roots)