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)
When all around is noisy and busy, help me in this moment to be still with you.
When my mind is chaotic and full of wondering, help me in this moment to be sure of you.
When my soul is troubled, help me in this moment to be calmed by you.
Still, calm and sure I come to worship you.
(Adapted from The Vine)
Reflection from 18 June: Love is Miracle
Reading – Matthew 14: 22-33
Two miracles can be found in Matthew Chapter 14: One is the event of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes, and the other is the event of his walking on the water. When we meet these miracles, we need to be cautious about thinking the miracles bring about faith.
Many of the Pharisees and teachers of the law seemed to have this sort of conviction. They persistently asked Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.” Even some of the disciples of Jesus asked, “What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?”
What did the Bible describe about Jesus’ response? He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.”
Suppose that miracles would produce our faith, there would be countless objects of our faith. There would be so many things to believe in. Philanthropists from all over the world are able to feed 5000 people and scientists are able to develop gadgets to enable us to cross the water.
The reason why our Lord performed miracles was not to gain popularity through these miracles. If he would have wanted it, he would not have refused the crowd’s proposal that they make Jesus a king after the feeding of 5,000.
We must remember that the real motive for his miracles was his overflowing love for us.
Our Lord had compassion for the 5,000 who were hungry and for the disciples who were struggling in the midst of the furious waves. He heard their groans and his abundant love led him to respond to their sufferings.
He is fast to love souls and is slow to anger. He from time to time becomes deaf or blind because of love. He became a fool and an unreasonable man because of love. He is love itself.
This was perceived by Jonah, one of the prophets of God, about 750 years ago. Jonah realised that the Lord became a fool because of love. He complained that the Lord called off his plan to destroy the city of Nineveh because of his love. He said, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2-3)
Our Lord’s behaviours which were formed by his overflowing love are not familiar to us. They are sometimes recognized as ‘miracles’ because we do not understand how his love works for us. They are sometimes recognized as mysterious because we do not perceive the depth and height of his love.
If we understand his love, they are not miracles or mysteries to us anymore. If we are in his abundant love, we will understand the greatest and the most mysterious events completely, Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
Yes, for our Lord, precisely speaking, there is no miracle. If there is, it is only love. Due to his love, he fed the 5,000 who were in hunger and walked on the water towards his disciples who were in the midst of the big waves. Due to his love, he willingly took the cross and died for us.
However, we frequently forget this and move our eyes onto things which were accompanied by his graceful action. We pay easily our attentions to the miracles rather than his love. By doing this, we fail to see what our Lord wanted to say to us.
The disciples of Jesus made this kind of mistake. In the turbulent and dark night, when they saw Jesus, walking on the water, they were terrified and cried out in fear, “It’s a ghost.”
If they understood the love of Jesus, they would recognize that he was with them at every single moment and would willingly save them. If they understood the love of Jesus, they would have considered the fact that Jesus was walking on the water towards them as being not unusual. But, sadly, the lack of knowledge about love in their teacher made them blind. They regarded Jesus a ghost. When the disciples did not understand his profound love, their souls were taken by fear and their attentions were paid to unusual things.
Our Lord is not a ghost. He is not a mysterious being. He is our Lord who is eager to save us. There is no reason to fear him because he is our saviour. He is saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
If we know what his love really is, we will see his reality. If we see that he came to save us, we will see him clearly beyond a mystery or a miracle. So did Peter. Peter had realised that Jesus came to save them in the midst of the furious waves. He knew that Jesus brought the good news of salvation. So, he stretched his arms towards Jesus. Peter said, “Lord, If it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” He saw Jesus beyond the miracle. He did not care the gap between Jesus and himself. He did not care that the gap was deep enough to kill himself.
Those who are saturated by love are like this. Both the lover and the beloved jump over the deep water. As St. Paul declared, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
However, remaining in this love needs practice. Peter, who greatly rejoiced in love with the Lord, experienced a failure. The Bible reports, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” When his mind was distracted by the wind, it was full of fear again and he began to sink.
You may have heard the story about a man who gets too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon, loses his balance, and slips over the edge. Just before falling 1000 feet, he grabs on to a root sticking out from the edge.
“Help me!” He hollers. “Is there anyone up there? Help me! Save me! Is there anyone up there?”
A voice answers, “I am the Lord. I can save you. Do you believe in me? Do you really want me to help you? ”
“O, yes, Lord, I believe in you, more than you’ll ever know. Please help me.”
“OK,” the Lord says. “I’ll save you. Now, let go.”
“Just let go of that root you’re holding on to, and I’ll save you. You have to trust me.“
The man pauses a moment, and then shouts out… “Is there anyone else up there?!”
Contrary to this man, Peter entirely relied on Jesus at last. He cried out, expecting his graceful hands, “Lord, save me!”
Our Lord’s love does not vanish or diminish by the wind. Whenever we long for his love, he immediately reaches out his hand and catches us, having compassion for our little faith. The love of our Lord overcomes everything. His love is great and deep enough to cover the gap between him and ourselves. As when they climbed into the boat the wind died down, his love gives us eternal peace.
The disciples who had this peace finally confessed towards Jesus, “Truly you are the Son of God.” It is true! He is the son of God who is still granting us boundless love. He is still rushing to love us. He is still approaching us. He is waiting for us in the midst of the waves of life.
Let’s go towards him, concentrating on him only. Then, he will hold our hands and lead us to eternal life. This is true miracle that we need to experience this morning! I pray that all of us meet this miraculous love. Amen.
Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim
Readings for 25 June
Matthew 1: 40-42
40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Jeremiah 28: 5-9
- Psalm 89: 1-4, 15-18
- Romans 6: 12-23
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 Methodist local preacher, Peter 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.
25 June – Peter Davies (Methodist local preacher)
2 July – Anne Byfield (URC lay preacher)
9 July – Christ Church worship group (Louise George)
16 July – Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim (Methodist minister)
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:
Voices in Accord concert
Songs for a Summer Afternoon – Saturday 15th July, 2.45pm at North Hillingdon Methodist Church
Voices in Accord, conducted by Alison Elcoat, present ‘Songs for a Summer Afternoon’ – a concert in aid of the Hillingdon Brain Tumour Group at North Hillingdon Methodist Church, 260 Long Lane, Hillingdon UB10 9PB on Saturday 15th July 2023 at 2.45pm. No tickets are required but there will be a retiring collection for the charity.
Part-time clerical assistant vacancy
We currently have a job vacancy for a part-time clerical assistant. The main duties will involve:
- Assisting in co-ordinating the day-to-day running of the church
- Keeping the church diary up to date with room bookings and exploring avenues for increasing income through room bookings and creative use of the church premises.
- Responding to enquiries and visitors to the church office
- Assisting with providing admin support to the Church Administrator, minister (when in post) and elders, including producing publicity materials and papers for meetings.
Applicants are sought with relevant experience, computer literacy and sympathy with the aims of the Church.
The post is for 15 hours a week (worked Monday – Friday)
Proposed start date: August 2023
Salary £9,350 – £10,300 per annum depending on experience
An application pack is available from the Resources coordinator (email@example.com)
Closing date for applications: 5pm on Friday 30th June 2023.
NHS 75 Open Day
Saturday 8th July, 11am – 3pm at Mount Vernon Hospital
We are holding a family friendly open day at Mount Vernon Hospital on Saturday 8 July, from 11am – 3pm, as part of our NHS 75 celebrations.
Entry is free, and there will be range of activities on offer including a bouncy castle, games, and a football tournament, as well as stalls offering information about healthcare services and careers in the NHS.
Dates for your diary
7 July – Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Display, 7pm in the Watts Hall
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:
- Ruislip Manor Methodist
- Holy Trinity, Perivale (URC/CofE)
Jesus, you walked to the cross,
and paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, for our freedom;
may we walk with you this week as we learn what it is to truly take up our cross and follow you.
May we shout from the rooftops
and burn with your love inside us, so that others may see you too.
(Taken from Roots)