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)
Open our ears, so we may hear your word anew today
Open our hearts, so we may be moved and inspired by your Spirit.
Speak your word to us
Walk alongside us, as we strive to be your people of light and love
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(Taken from The Vine)
Reflection from 3 September
Reading – Matthew 6: 5-14
This is probably a very familiar reading to all of us. It introduces us to the prayer that we say in Church every week – and no doubt at other times too. But have you ever taken The Lord’s Prayer to pieces and unpicked it to really think about what it means. We did this in GB last year, using it for our weekly devotions over 8 weeks and helping girls – some of whom didn’t know the Lord’s Prayer well enough to say it (or who didn’t even know it at all) – understand what it meant and why it’s so important. It became the finale for our Display too!
The Lord’s Prayer can be so familiar that we skate through it not stopping to think too much about what we are praying, and even less about what it means for us as God’s people caught up in what he’s doing in the world.
So this morning we’re considering how using this prayer can help us on the frontline. After each section there’s going to be a chance for you to meditate on some statements or questions for a couple of minutes, using that quiet time on a 1:1 with God to think about and pray about your thoughts.
Our Father in heaven
In the first line of this prayer we are praying to be established in our identity as children of God. Some people find it helpful to think about God’s love for us like a father’s – or mother’s – love for his or her children (although I know for many that’s not a positive thing to do), and so we can also think about God’s love as being like the love of the person who knows us and loves us the best.
It’s life changing to know that we’re first and foremost sons and daughters of our heavenly Father. Whoever we are, we’re loved with all wisdom and understanding. There will be times in life when this will be the main anchor in the storm, the key that unlocks our prisons, the truth that brings us the greatest joy. Our Father in heaven is also the gateway to purpose.
- What does it mean for you that you are a son or daughter of your heavenly Father?
- How easy or difficult is it for you to trust God as your heavenly Father? Why is that?
- Are there times in your life when it’s made a great difference to know God as your heavenly Father?
Hallowed be your name
In this part of the prayer we are praying for our part in the Father’s business. “Hallowed” is a word that means “holy” or “special.”
When we become Christians, we can act as though we’ve enlisted God for our lives: our concerns and causes. However, when we begin to pray this prayer, we’re reminded that what’s actually happened is that God, through Jesus Christ, has co-opted us into his purposes. We align ourselves with his cause and his way of doing things and so glorify him. And of course, his ‘family business’ embraces all things – it’s global, it’s redemptive, it’s liberating – and it includes us and our daily contexts.
- In what ways do you think that your life on your frontline matters in God’s purposes?
- Can you think of something that happened this week in your life on the frontline that you think delighted God?
Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Here, we are praying for regime change. We ask God to help us do God’s will and to help us make the world the way God wants it to be – just like God sees the world in Heaven. In this part of the prayer, we are asking God to use us to help make the earth the way God imagines it can be.
Change can be challenging. Safety, security, and comfort can seem very attractive. But followers of Jesus are called to pray for regime change – that God’s will would be done, here and now. This Kingdom clashes with alternative ways of life. When Jesus first taught this prayer there was an all-powerful empire. The Jewish people were working out what it meant to be the people of God under these difficult conditions. Some believed they should concentrate on personal piety, some thought that they should accommodate the political powers around them, some took to the desert to withdraw completely, whilst most ordinary people just tried to get on with life. But Jesus came and declared that the Kingdom of God had arrived in and through him. We join in that prayer for our times and places.
- What could be some of God’s kingdom purposes on your frontline?
Give us today our daily bread
Here we are praying for today’s needs. Back in the times when the Bible was written, bread was the basic necessity of life. In the prayer, bread is a symbol for asking God to make sure we have what we need – not what we WANT but what we NEED!
Praying for today’s bread also suggests an attitude of constant reliance on our heavenly Father. It’s a description of our relationship with him and affirms our significance to him. This can present a challenge to those of us who like to feel in control.
- What needs do you have on your frontline that keep you dependent on God?
- How easy or difficult is it to depend on God in this way? Why is that?
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
Here we are praying for yesterday’s mistakes. In the ‘old’ version of the prayer we use the word trespasses; in the ‘newer’ versions the words change to sins or debts. But in essence they all mean that we have done something wrong, something that is hurtful to or disrespectful of another person.
We ask God to forgive us for what we do that is wrong, but we also promise God that we will forgive people who do things to us that are wrong. This is very hard and sometimes we have to work our whole lives to forgive someone. It isn’t always easy, but God understands that it is hard and knows when we are working at it. We don’t have to be perfect about it, we just have to be serious about working to forgive someone.
This is a prayer that Jesus gave the disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus recognised that there would be some things that would need to be dealt with regularly – we would need to be forgiven and we would need to forgive. We’re not as good as we think we are and people around us are not as good as we wish they were. Jesus breaks the cycles of failure with forgiveness: between us and God, and between each other.
- Think about your relationships on your frontline. Is there someone to forgive?
- Is there someone to ask forgiveness of?
- Think about your relationship with God. Take a moment to talk to God about anything you regret and repent of. Ask for his forgiveness.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Here we are praying for tomorrow’s walk and ‘work’ “Temptation” can be lots of things. It can be something as big wanting to steal from other people or as small as sneaking a biscuit from the biscuit tin when you were a child and you’d been told, “Not until after dinner!” We ask God to help us stay away from the things that we know are wrong for us to do. We’ve just thought about forgiving others from the wrong they had done us. This line of the prayer is our asking God to both keep us from doing the wrong thing as well as protecting us from the wrong things other people might do to us.
Jesus seems to think that we shouldn’t be too confident about our own ability to keep going as disciples. There’s an enemy who wants to seduce us away from the ways of the Kingdom, and so times of testing will come and here we are called to pray for protection and deliverance. We don’t go onto our frontlines alone but the powerful, protecting, life-giving presence of God is with us.
Serving God on our frontlines is not about ‘trying harder’. It’s about learning to allow the resurrection power of God to work in and through our lives as we embrace the things that God has asked us to do. But it begins with a clear sense of our identity.
- Think about one pressure point and one kingdom purpose on your frontline.
- How are you tempted not to trust your heavenly Father for these things?
- What protection do you need from God in these situations?
The Lord’s Prayer starts with an assurance of our identity as children of God. It aligns us with his purposes in the world. It re-affirms an attitude of constant reliance on him for sustenance, forgiveness, power, and protection. Serving God is not about ‘trying harder’, but about allowing God to work in and through our lives. We can be confident that we can make a difference, not only because of what we do, but because of whose we are, and what God is doing in us as well as through us. We can be secure in our identity and therefore confident in our everyday places.
Readings for 10 September
Matthew 18: 15-20
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Further readings from the lectionary this week are as follows:
- Ezekiel 33: 7-11
- Psalm 119: 33-40
- Romans 13: 8-14
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 fifth and final service 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.
10 September – Christ Church worship group (Louise George) – Frontline Sundays 5
17 September – Graham Hinton (URC lay preacher and Christ Church member) – Harvest and parade service
24 September – Revd Dr Leao Neto (Methodist minister) – Holy Communion
1 October – Anne Byfield (URC lay preacher)
Harvest Service Foodbank donations
We will be collecting donations for the local foodbank at our harvest service on 17 September. If you would like to bring a donation for the foodbank, the following items are those they are currently in most need of:
- Carrier bags
- All and any toiletries
- Washing up liquid
- Rice pudding
- Tinned fruit
- Sugar (500g or 1kg)
- Microwave rice packets
- Tinned fish
- Pasta sauce
- Tinned potatoes
- Instant coffee
- Long life milk (ideally full fat or semi skimmed)
- Long life fruit juice
- 1l fruit squash
- Dried noodles
- Tinned spaghetti
- Long grain rice
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:
A big question!
Who did Jesus of Nazareth think he was? Both Lilian Evans and Claire Potter had important things to say. Did Jesus believe that he had come only to his own people? It seems that he was very reluctant to heal the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman and perhaps had to be persuaded to. Did Paul invent a new religion that drew little from the historical Jesus?
So when we ponder on “who do men say that I am?” we have to think deeply. When Stephanie invited us to reflect on the Lord’s Prayer perhaps we should have noted that Jesus focussed every line on God and not on himself. I asked a recent Christ Church preacher if her prayers were to God or Jesus she said she was never sure!
What do we believe?
CTU Bible exploration: Just Economics
Tuesdays, 12.30pm – 1.30pm from 26 September
What should the goal of the economy be? Why isn’t our current system enabling people to flourish, especially as the cost of living crisis bites? Could a change in approach help us solve the climate crisis? What does our Christian faith have to say about the economy?
“Just ECONOMICS” is a six-session small group course, opening up some of these questions and starting a conversation about how the economy might be re-shaped to enable the wellbeing of all people and the planet.
Suitable for individual or group study, this course is designed for people with no background in finance or economics. It is rooted in ideas found in the Bible and the teachings of Jesus, and compares this with other thinking around money, poverty and wealth, leading us to examine our own attitudes to systems of worth and how our society could be changed for the better.
Each week we will be exploring a different theme as follows:
Week 1 – Crisis
Week 2 – Enough
Week 3 – Growth
Week 4 – Value
Week 5 – Freedom
Week 6 – Change
The sessions will be held in the chapel at Christ Church on Tuesdays from 12.30pm – 1.30pm from 26 September. All are welcome to attend.
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
22 October – Congregational meeting
10 December – Congregational meeting with bring and share lunch
Praying for other churches
This week we hold the following churches in our prayers:
- Eastcote Methodist
- St Andrew’s URC, Gerrards Cross
- St Andrew’s, Uxbridge
Let us be people of the gospel, Lord,
People who bring good news into our homes, our families, our communities, our whole world.
Show us how to join in with what you are doing, O God.
(Taken from The Vine)