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.
Our newsletter will be posted fortnightly over the school summer holiday period. The next issue of the newsletter will be posted on 4th August.
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)
As you sit here in this space you call your own ready to meet the living God, you might like to remember:
You are connected to people of faith worshipping in different ways and places.
You are part of a community of saints that have worshipped for generations.
You are joined with others across the world choosing to do the same.
Here in this special space where God has been for all time you are free to worship.
So take a moment and give thanks in the quiet places of your heart.
For all you have,
All you are
And all you might be.
If you feel able speak the following:
All I have, all I am and all I might be
I offer to you as I worship
today and always. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Reflection from 16 July – The Declaration of Freedom
Reading – Romans 7:21-8:4
I love all books in the Bible. Among the 66 books, my favourite is Romans. Among all the chapters of Romans, I especially love chapter 8 because I believe that it summarises the message of the Bible most clearly.
Chapter 8 begins with the word ‘therefore.’ The therefores in Romans were mainly used to draw a conclusion for some specific issues. The first therefore is found in 3:20 – “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law”
This is the therefore of condemnation. It says that no one will be righteous and we will die because of our sin. This is our reality.
Some believe that we could cope with this terrible situation by ethical behaviour or educational development. But the writer of Romans concludes that no human efforts will make us righteous. We could pretend to be righteous and holy but are not able to be free from the chain of sin. Our sin is like a swamp. We make every single effort to escape from the swamp of sin but will fall in it more and more deeply. Those who face themselves honestly will confess like St. Paul did. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
If we stop at this therefore, there is no hope. Our future will be despair and lamentation. Fortunately, the writer of Romans says another therefore. This therefore is totally different from the therefore in chapter 3.
Chapter 3 shows the therefore of condemnation but chapter 8 gives the therefore of no condemnation:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
Here, St. Paul declares! There is hope. There is a way to break our chains of sin. There is a way of salvation. There is a way of eternal life. How can these events happen to us? Look carefully at verse 2!
“Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
St. Paul declares no condemnation in Jesus Christ and setting us free in Him. Our gracious God listens keenly to our groan. He knows that we are in the condemnation of sin and death and we can never save ourselves. So, he prepared the way of salvation himself. He opened a new way of salvation as recorded in verse 3:
“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.”
This event happened in Christ Jesus. He was the sacrifice for our sinful souls. He was the Lamb of God prepared by God himself. In this sense, John the Baptist perceived Jesus correctly. He shouted, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Yes! Jesus is the man who broke our chains of sin and death. In him, we have eternal life.
St. Paul realised this truth. He found Jesus newly. He had true freedom in Jesus from condemnation of sin and death. This was really good news to Paul. But, this good news is not just for Paul. It is for all of us. Listen to the amazing gospel with open hearts!
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
How then can we enjoy this wonderful good news? This question is really important to us. How can we rejoice in what Jesus has done? It is not enough to know what Jesus has done for us.
John Wesley was a specialist of Jesus. He had lots of information about Jesus but it wasn’t enough. When a Moravian minister, Spangenberg, challenged John, asking, “Does the Spirit of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God?” John Wesley couldn’t say that Jesus died for him assuredly, instead he replied, “I know He is the Savior of the World.” His plentiful knowledge of Jesus wasn’t enough for him to rejoice in the Good News.
Many Christians now have a similar problem as he had. We need something more than this to enjoy the Good News. What is it? St. Paul gave us a clue. Pay attention to the words, which were followed by the declaration of no condemnation, ‘the law of the Spirit of life.’ In order to enjoy God’s amazing grace, we have to have the law of the Spirit of life in our hearts.
The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God and the spirit of the Son at the same time. Jesus has fellowship with us in the Spirit. Without the Spirit, we are eternal outsiders from Jesus as the Bible says:
“If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9)
Who can have the Spirit? The Spirit is a gift for believers. The Bible teaches us that anyone who believes in Jesus truly and ask for him in faith will have the Spirit.
Blessed are those who have the Spirit. It is because the Spirit will give us life. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in us.
Blessed are those who have the Spirit. It is because the Spirit endlessly testifies that we are God’s children. He is therefore called the Spirit of sonship. If we have the Spirit, we can call him “Abba, Father.”
Blessed are those who have the Spirit. It is because the Spirit teaches us how to pray. We are so weak that we may always need God’s help. Prayer is the pathway to receive his help. However, we do not know what we ought to pray for, because we do not know God’s will. The Spirit knows his will, and God knows the mind of the Spirit. If we pray in the Spirit, he himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express and leads our prayer to bear fruit.
Blessed are those who have the Spirit. It is because the Spirit leads us into ultimate victory. Those who have the Spirit could meet trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword. But those who have the Spirit cannot be defeated by them. It is because in all things God works for the good of those who have the Spirit. It is because in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who gave us the Spirit.
Here is the good news. Listen to this good news:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
Open the door of our hearts! Accept Jesus in our hearts. Place our trust in him and ask him for the Spirit. The Spirit will be given to us. The law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death. No condemnation will be given to us.
We will finally be convinced that “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.”
I pray that this wonderful news will be yours. Amen.
Revd Dr Dong Hwan Kim
Readings for 23 July
Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
The Parable of the Weeds
24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
The Parable of the Weeds Explained
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Isaiah 44: 6-8
- Psalm 86: 11-17
- Romans 8: 12-25
Readings for 30 July
Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52
The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The Parable of the Net
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
52 He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- 1 Kings 3: 5-12
- Psalm 119: 129-136
- Romans 8: 26-39
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 the second in our ‘Frontline Sundays’ series and 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.
23 July – Christ Church worship group (Louise George)
30 July – Revd Sue McCoan (URC minister) – Holy Communion
6 August – Christ Church worship group (Joanne Mackin)
13 August – Karen Campbell (URC Secretary for Global & Intercultural Ministries (Mission))
Church charity news
Table-top sale – Saturday 23rd September, 10am – 3pm
There will be a table-top sale in aid of our church charity, Communicare Counselling Service, on Saturday 23rd September 2023, 10 am to 3pm.
Trestle tables will cost £10 each. I shall be selling my goods in aid of Christ Church funds. If you wish to book a table, please contact me on 07810 433986 or the church office.
You can find more details about Communicare Counselling Service, our church charity for 2023 at:
Dates for your diary
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
w/c 23 July
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Yiewsley Methodist
- Ickenham URC
w/c 30 July
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
• Cannon Lane Methodist
• Acton Hill (URC/Methodist)
May God be above you,
and God beside you,
and heaven all around you
as you journey on;
and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with you all, today and always.
(Taken from the URC Worship Notes for 23 July 2023)