16th May – 7th Sunday of Easter

Collect

O God the King of Glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 1. 15-17, 21-end.

New Testament                      1 John 5. 9-13.

Gospel                                      John 17. 6-19.

When John’s Gospel appeared, many documents about the origins and nature of Jesus were already circulating widely and continued long after the generation for whom John wrote, had passed into history. Although some of John’s material was far from the picture outlined in Mark’s Gospel, (the earliest and closest to the lives of the Apostles like Peter), it intended to show that Jesus even though a long time had passed since his death, remained the authority upon whom the Church based its true allegiance to God. John’s Gospel is something of a re-statement of the orthodox teaching as it had grown over the years since the times of the Apostles and was intended to counter popular myths and fables of the day Indeed, a popular collection of fables called “The Infancy of Jesus” which contained accounts of his miracles performed even as a babe- in- arms, despite it being no earlier than the 5th. Century A.D., was long believed during the Middle Ages to have been another work by St. Matthew.

In Chapter 17, (The High Priestly Prayer) John described the unfolding of the ministry of Jesus. In today’s reading we are told that his disciples had been already chosen in anticipation of his own ministry by the Father to fulfil the Father’s purposes after his death. Their future work would be to express the words of truth which he had himself received from the Father. As he had passed on these words and teachings to them, so now, like him, they would continue in the face of a hostile world, living under the control of Satanic forces, to proclaim the same message. The author establishes in the minds of his readers that the Apostles, “Those whom you gave me,” had an authority which could not be challenged because it was given by Jesus and therefore from the Father. In Chapter 17 John rejects any suggestion that the Church was a human creation. It was Jesus who had inspired them to found the Church according to the purposes of God the Father.

Jesus also anticipated his betrayal by Judas. For me, John’s treatment of Judas raises a difficult question. If God had already chosen the disciples, can we really believe, with John, that God chose Judas only to betray Jesus? In Matthew Ch. 27 v5. Judas, so overcome by remorse, hangs himself. But no remorse is allowed Judas in John’s Gospel.                                Brian

 

Services Next Sunday – 23rd MayPentecost

Weston-under-Penyard Parish Communion 9.30 a.m.
The Lea Children’s Church 10.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Mattins 9.30 a.m.
Aston Ingham Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
Linton All Ages Service 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Mattins 10.30 a.m.
ALL CHURCHES BENEFICE ZOOM 12.00 p.m.

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com

 


09th May – 6th Sunday of Easter

Collect

Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples: help your Church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father.

Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 10. 44-end.

New Testament                      1 John 5. 1-6.

Gospel                                      John 15. 9-17

Pentecost or more traditionally Whitsun is I think the Cinderella of Christian festivals, it has never really had the impact of Christmas and Easter. It doesn’t have the same traditions or social events around it which make it stand out in the wider culture either.  I think increasingly the church doesn’t really know how to mark the occasion and even the recent ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer campaign which has actually taken off across the churches in recent years doesn’t really make much of Pentecost itself. Yet Pentecost is perhaps one of the most exciting of the church festivals for it marks the moment when God started the church!  It is in effect the Church’s birthday, the day that God sent the Holy Spirit to inspire and empower ordinary Christians to do extraordinary things for Him.

The Holy Spirit is given freely to all of us as a free gift from God.  Jesus promised his disciples that we would receive this gift so that we might know his presence with us as we live out our faith on a daily basis.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforter to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…”                    – John 14:15-16

The problem is when most of us think of comfort we think of the luxuries of life, or being wrapped up in a warm blanket or duvet.  We also think of comfort as something that consoles us when we are upset or in need. Whilst all these things are true the word used in the New Testament has a completely different meaning to those we might expect.  The word comfort is the same word that we find in relation to prodding, strengthening or stirring into action.  The Bayeux Tapestry has a wonderful panel of Bishop Odo, forcing his men into battle, at the end of his battle club, with the abbreviated Latin words:  which when translated means: “Here, Bishop Odo, comforts his troops.”  As individuals we might not find such ‘comfort’ comforting but the Holy Spirit is given to equip and spur us into action!  In fact, the word comfort has traditionally also meant to give or add strength to someone or to encourage, urge or exhort.  When we see the coming of the Holy Spirit in that way it makes much more sense of both Jesus words and what we see in the book of Acts as the early church begins to emerge.

The Holy Spirit also empowers us to be the people God created and knows us to be, in that sense the Holy Spirit fills us with God’s wisdom and power for the tasks which he has called us to.  On the day of Pentecost it is the Holy Spirit that takes the group of timid and bewildered disciples and equips them to declare the gospel message. Jesus before his Ascension had promised them that they would receive the Holy Spirit to equip them as His witnesses throughout the world.

“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.”                           – Acts 1:8

This power that comes with the Holy Spirit is very real and is available to us just as it was to the first disciples.  It is power to live our lives as God intended, power to encourage us and to strength us for acts of service.  It is not to make us feel better, or for our own benefit but it is the power to build one another up and to inspire the Church. So as Pentecost approaches perhaps, we need to re-evaluate this slightly misunderstood Christian Festival and celebrate the birthday of the church with a bit more style and flair!  Our prayer certainly needs to be ‘Come Holy Spirit!’  May the Spirit, who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost, bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ. Amen.

Services Next Sunday – 16th May7th Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
The Lea Said Communion 9.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
Aston Ingham Village Praise 10.00 a.m.
Linton Morning Worship 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
ALL CHURCHES BENEFICE ZOOM 12.00 p.m.
Upton Bishop 13th May BENEFICE Ascension Day 7.30 p.m.

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


02nd May – 5th Sunday of Easter

 Collect

Almighty Father, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 8. 26-end.

New Testament                      1 John 4. 7-end.

Gospel                                      John 15. 1-8

The parable in today’s Gospel makes hard reading.  Having first cut away all but a couple of branches of his grapevine, the vine-grower then removes any remaining ones that are not fruiting and throws them on the fire. He is interested only in the branches that bear fruit – the rest are expendable.  What God wants, the parable says, is disciples who will bear much fruit. Those who abide in Jesus will bear fruit, but those who do not bear fruit will be cast aside as rubbish, their lack of fruitfulness evidence of their lack of faithfulness as disciples. The relationship of dependence that exists between the branch and the vine reflects that between the disciple and Jesus. Just as the branch cannot fruit by its own efforts without being part of the vine, neither can disciples bear fruit in their lives without abiding in Jesus. While that is great for the branches that bear fruit, we cannot help thinking that it is less good news for the branches that are pruned and thrown into the fire. And, if we are honest, many of us are probably thinking that we are more likely to be cut off and thrown away – an idea that is quite challenging if we believe in a loving God – because we fear we may not be very good at bearing fruit.

There are no easy answers to the conundrum of how a loving God can advocate pruning and discarding those whom God has created. Maybe the parable is about not merely living for ourselves – the unfruitful branches – but through our lives providing sustenance and nourishment to others.  And, as any gardener knows, pruning fruitful branches will make them more fruitful next season – so even the fruitful disciple can expect setbacks and challenges in life. Whatever the true meaning, however, what we can do is ask ourselves what fruitfulness might look like in our own lives.

Fruitfulness is about abundance – one seed yielding a great quantity of sweet fruit, out of all proportion to the original seed. It’s about bounty – generosity, not only in terms of money and material resources, but also generosity of mind and spirit. It is about celebration – God’s gifts of soil, rain and sun have brought into being something out of almost nothing, something good that enriches and sustains life.

 Services Next Sunday – 09nd May6th Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard
The Lea Said Communion 8.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Outside Rogation Walk Benefice Service

Weston

10.30 a.m.
Aston Ingham
Linton
Upton Bishop
Upton Bishop 13th May BENEFICE Ascension Day 7.30 p.m.

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

Christian Aid Week It has gone on line, and all giving will be through that process (by e envelope/donation.) Christian Aid week is May 10-17.

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

 Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


25th April – 4th Sunday of Easter

Collect

Almighty Father, whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life: raise us, who trust in him, from the death of Sin to the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 4. 5-12

New Testament                      1 John 3. 16-end.

Gospel                                      John 10. 11-18

The death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has been a high-profile national event and his funeral one of straightforward dignity.  He had always seemed to me a remote, indeed aloof, figure whose path was highly unlikely ever to cross with mine.  Apart from the award scheme I knew very little about him.  Since his death there has been a huge amount of coverage about what he had actually got up to during his years.  It was an eye-opener and it occurred to me it would have been useful to know something of those activities when they were actually happening.  It makes me think of the amount of good activity that goes on in our national life generated by less well-known people well out of sight of the public gaze.  There are plenty of local heroes but the media do seem to prefer to concentrate on the villains.  Anonymous heroes do not do what they do in order to be rewarded or even acknowledged but just for the sake of it, out of love for someone or out of simple public spirit – volunteering, litter-picking, food bank organising, charity fund raising, befriending, visiting, and many many more. They are the lubricants of society without which everything would creak to a standstill.  So, thank you, Prince Philip, for all you have done and thank you, community volunteers, for everything you do as well.  We can pray with St Richard of Chichester, “….to labour and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do your will.  Amen.”      It is the calling of all Christians.                                     Robin

 Services Next Sunday – 02nd May5th Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard Mattins 11.15 a.m.
The Lea Said Communion 10.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Said Communion 09.00 a.m.
Aston Ingham Evensong 6.30 p.m.
Linton Said Parish Communion 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
ALL CHURCHES BENEFICE ZOOM 12.00 p.m.

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

 Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


18th April – 3rd Sunday of Easter

 Collect

Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 3. 12-19

New Testament                      1 John 3. 1-7

Gospel                                      Luke 24. 36b-48.

Talking about giving new life, there is now a Vaccin-Aid scheme, being led by UNICEF, to fund almost 2 billion Covid-19 vaccinations for health workers and vulnerable people globally.

The scheme was set up very recently in partnership with the on-line fundraising platform, Crowdfunder.  The aim is to encourage people who have had the vaccine to make a voluntary donation to the global COVAX programme.  Go to

Covid-19 vaccines: Help deliver history | Unicef UK

Or if you prefer to donate by phone you can call our dedicated donation line: 0300 330 5699.

Or, you can send in your cheque, made payable to Unicef UK, to the Donations Team, Unicef UK, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ. Please include a covering letter with your name and address details.

Or If you would like to donate to Unicef via bank transfer, please use the account details below. Your bank will provide you with a receipt as proof of payment.

  • The UK Committee for Unicef – Donations Account, HSBC Plc., PO Box 4BQ, 133 Regent Street, London W1B 4HX
  • Account Number: 91566814
  • Sort Code: 40-06-02

Please send us an email to donations@unicef.org.uk, stating the date that you transferred your donation. This will help us to keep track of your transfer and we can then let you know and thank you once we have received it.                                                     Wye Reaches Benefice News

 

Services Next Sunday – 25th April – 4th Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard Parish Communion 09.30 a.m.
The Lea Children’s Church 10.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Mattins 09.30 a.m.
Aston Ingham Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
Linton Morning Worship 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Mattins 10.30 a.m.

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 

Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

 

Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


11th April 2 – 2nd Sunday of Easter

 Collect

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 4. 32-35

New Testament                      1 John 1. 1 thru 2. 2

Gospel                                      John 20. 19-end.

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me, “everything happens for a reason.” It is normally in response to a personal tragedy or unexplained event.  I often wonder what evidence lies behind that assertion. The desire to see meaning in the apparent chaos of the world seems entrenched.  Of course, It could be an evolutionary artefact, like seeing patterns in the clouds, leftover from a need to make sense of the world so our ancestors didn’t get eaten by sabre-tooth tigers! Faith in that sense would be believing something in spite of the evidence, or despite evidence to the contrary.

Christians use the word faith very differently.  In the New Testament, it’s not seen as an abstract quality, where someone might have 15 units of it, another 30 or another 5. It’s always faith in something, much more akin to trust than a set of intellectual convictions. For the first disciples, it was staking their lives, both now and in eternity, on something they passionately believed to be true. The root of their (and our) conviction is that Jesus rose from the dead.  They witnessed it with their own eyes. We continue to believe the evidence for this historical event is compelling and have experienced the lifechanging reality of encountering Jesus. To speak of the resurrection as a metaphor or in spiritual terms like ‘he rose in their hearts’ would have made no sense whatever to the disciples. The reality was difficult to comprehend, but they couldn’t deny the evidence of their own eyes and fingers as they reached out to touch him.

The resurrection was the final evidence they needed that the claims Jesus made during his earthly life were true.  This was more than just a man, but in a real sense, God squeezed into human form. St. Paul put it very starkly, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God!”

How very joyous then, that He has!! Christ is risen: He is risen indeed, Alleluia.                                                                                         +Richard

Services Next Sunday – 18th April – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
The Lea Said Communion 9.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
Aston Ingham Village Praise 10.00 a.m.
Linton All Ages Service 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Said Communion 10.30 a.m.

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

Talking about giving new life, there is now a VaccinAid scheme, being led by UNICEF, to fund almost 2 billion Covid-19 vaccinations for health workers and vulnerable people globally.  The scheme was set up very recently in partnership with the on-line fundraising platform, Crowdfunder.  The aim is to encourage people who have had the vaccine to make a voluntary donation to the global COVAX programme.  Go to Covid-19 vaccines: Help deliver history | Unicef UK You can donate by phone: 0300 330 5699.  Or, cheque, made payable to Unicef UK, to the Donations Team, Unicef UK, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ. Please include a covering letter with your name and address details. Via bank transfer, please use the account details, The UK Committee for Unicef – Donations Account, HSBC Plc., PO Box 4BQ, 133 Regent Street, London W1B 4HX Account Number: 91566814 Sort Code: 40-06-02 Please send an email to donations@unicef.org.uk, stating the date that you transferred your donation. This will help us track your transfer and we can then thank you once received.

Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick, Gerry Lowth (WuP)

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


28th March – Palm Sunday

Collect

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

 Readings

Old Testament                        Acts 10. 34-43

New Testament                      1 Corinthians 15. 1-11

Gospel                                      John 20. 1-18

Mary meets the risen Jesus in the garden and becomes the first bearer of the good news of the resurrection.

That’s funny.” We’re not told what Peter and John said to each other as they left the empty tomb that first Easter Day, but “that’s funny” might have been appropriate. There had been a stone door, and now there wasn’t. There had been a body, and now there wasn’t. But there was nothing to indicate that this was anything other than something odd. They did not understand that it was an event that was to change history forever. As the Gospel tells us, “as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead”. They were not expecting anything dramatic to happen. They were preparing themselves for a future without Jesus. Perhaps they were preoccupied with the choice facing them – try to carry on the mission without Jesus, or go back to their former lives? The disappearance of the stone and the body were odd, nothing more. Resurrection did not enter their minds. Why would it?

It took Mary to realise. Mary, for whom the empty tomb wasn’t a curiosity but a tragedy. If she could no longer have the living Jesus, who had been so precious to her, she could at least honour him in his resting place. For her, the void left by the removal of the stone and the absence of the beloved body was devastating. She had thought it couldn’t get any worse, and it had. And it was in the absolute depths of despair, as she cast around for someone to help, that she found him. He wasn’t the gardener. He said her name, just as he had always done. She didn’t respond, “That’s funny,” though it was. Instead, she said, “Rabbouni,” recognising the master she had followed and loved. She saw instantly the enormous significance of her discovery. However, it had happened, Jesus was not dead. In the certainty of her new truth, Mary went and told, and the world was changed.                                                                                           David

 Services Next Sunday – 11th April – 2nd Sunday of Easter

Weston-under-Penyard
The Lea Mattins 8.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel ZOOM BENEFICE SERVICE 10.30 a.m.
Aston Ingham
Linton
Upton Bishop

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 Lea Church will be holding their Easter Service outside at 9.30am, (unless snow and torrential rain intervene of course!). Everyone is welcome, but please dress for the weather! We would love to see you and being outside means we can sing !!

 “All those who knew and loved Sally North are mourning her death”

 Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick,

Please pray for all who have died, Sally North (HM)

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


28th March – Palm Sunday

 Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

 

Readings

Old Testament                        Isaiah 50. 4-9a

New Testament                      Philippians 2. 5-11

Gospel                                      Mark 15. 1-39

There has been some focus recently on the subject of race and the associated prejudices. There is a difference between the new world and old world on this matter. Here in UK, we have a particular perspective on colour and are more accustomed to it because of our imperial history and the fact that our involvement in the slave trade, while deplorable, was conducted at a distance. In America all black and brown people are descendants of slaves forcibly brought to home territory so the prejudices are shaped by that. I have had a glance, by no means exhaustive, at some biblical material. Skin colour plays little part in the bible record. In Jeremiah 13 v 23 the colour of an Ethiopian is used as a symbol of what does not change (the same verse as the famous spotty leopard) and in Acts 8 v 26 to 40 an Ethiopian is converted by the apostle Philip. (Ethiopia had strong Jewish connections). In the Roman world slavery was supplied by victory in war and was not colour-related. But there was still racial prejudice and at the time of Jesus a very strong one existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. Jesus scandalised his listeners by making Samaritans heroes in his parables, e.g., the grateful leper in Luke 17 v 16 to 19 and the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 v 29 to 37. St Paul in Galatians 3 v 28 advises that in Christ Jesus all our prejudices are swept aside; racial, economic and gender.

All racism takes place in a mirror. The image we see is the measure of true humanity and those who do not resemble it are lesser beings. The Christian answer is that we are all made in the image of God. That puts us and our relationship into an entirely different perspective. I am constantly moved by Martin Luther King’s plea that a man (includes woman) should be judged not by the colour of his skin but by the content of his character. Since we are now in Passiontide, I would add that the unity of humanity can be gauged by asking the question “For whom did Christ not die?”

     Robin

 

Services Next Sunday – 04th April – Easter Day

Weston-under-Penyard Said Communion 11.15 a.m.
The Lea Said Communion 9.30 a.m.
Hope Mansel Said Communion 9.00 a.m.
Aston Ingham Evensong with Communion 6.30 p.m.
Linton Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
Upton Bishop Easter Vigil &

Said Communion

6.00 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

ALL CHURCHES BENEFICE ZOOM 12 Noon

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 

“All those who knew and loved Sally North are mourning her death”

 

Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick,

Please pray for all who have died, Sally North (HM)

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


21st March – 5th Sunday of Lent

 

Collect

Gracious Father, you gave up your Son out of love for the world: lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion, that we may know eternal peace through the shredding of our Saviour’s blood, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Readings

Old Testament                        Jeremiah 31. 31-34

New Testament                      Hebrews 5. 5-10

Gospel                                      John 12. 20-33

The Passover Festival referred to in this part of John’s Gospel was a historic link with the Exodos from Egypt and the continuing belief that God controlled the events of history, both for good and ill, on behalf of the Nation of Israel. It is not particularly easy to distinguish the effects of the decisions and events of the major Powers in the Middle East and the outcome for the decision-makers in Israel. Egypt to the south and Assyria north of the country, for instance, hemmed in Israel. The clash of these two empires as they both sought to expand, might have been interpreted as the activities of God, either to reward or to punish Israel, by the Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah, but to a military historian no doubt, just one instance out of many of the same type of conflict.

Centuries later, Israel was caught up again in the conflict between two military powers-Greece and Rome. The result of two disastrous rebellions against Rome led, in A.D. 70 to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In 135, the second revolt led to the expulsion of the inhabitants and the re-naming of the Province. John’s Gospel can be dated almost half-way between these national disasters. Of the two, by far the most significant was the destruction of the Temple, the “House of God”, the centre of the Jewish Religion and the only location of the elaborate Festivals and sacrificial system whereby the life of a creature or a plant was in some peculiar way thought to be exchanged for the life of the person offering the sacrifice.

So, what are the Greeks doing in our quotation? They came and they went. Did they see Jesus? We are left wondering just what is the point of this brief incident. But we note that both Philip and Andrew have Greek names and might be sympathetic to their request. We recall that Jesus went to the trouble of re-naming Simon, who became “Peter”.

However, we may interpret the seed dying to bring forth a later fruit, there can be no doubt that the seed of the Risen Lord was sown into the fallow medium of two great cultures. The language of the Gospels is Greek, the Church thought in Greek and the Roman Empire planted the Faith throughout the known world.                                                       Brian

Services Next Sunday – 28th March – Palm Sunday

Weston-under-Penyard Parish Communion 9.30 a.m.
The Lea Children’s Church 10.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Mattins 9.30 a.m.
Aston Ingham Said Communion 10.30 a.m.
Linton Morning Worship 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Mattins 10.30 a.m.

 

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

 

“All those who knew and loved Sally North are mourning her death”

 Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick,

Please pray for all who have died, Sally North (HM)

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


14th March – Mothering Sunday

 Collect

God of Love, passionate and strong, tender and careful: watch over us and hold us all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Readings

Old Testament                        Exodus 20. 1-17

New Testament                      1 Corinthians 1. 18-25

Gospel                                      John 2. 13-22

As I write this we are approaching the start of Lent.  Easter this year falls very early and it feels like only yesterday that we finished celebrating Christmas.  One impact of COVID-19 and the pandemic is that time can feel somewhat stuck.  It can feel like we are trapped between events rather like a strange Science Fiction world where we are caught up in an endless cycle of repeating the activity. It reminds me a little of the film ‘Groundhog Day’ where the main character is trapped in a world where he simply repeats February 2nd over and over again!  I think if we are not careful our spiritual lives can get stuck too, with little opportunity to worship together in church and limited social interaction, we can very easily become dislocated from our faith and from each other. Lent traditionally has been seen as a time of self-examination, self-discipline and fasting although interestingly it didn’t include Sundays as these were feast days and celebrations.  It took its form from the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness following his baptism.  It also marked the traditional beginning of Spring and the word Lent is based on the old English word for ‘Spring season’.  As part of that preparation and self-denial, we have traditions of giving things up for a season and abstinence. In more recent times we have been encouraged to take something up that is of spiritual benefit to ourselves or general benefit to others instead. One of the things we have perhaps lost sight of is it was also a season of spiritual generosity and almsgiving.  When I did some research as part of some studies into what helps churches to grow one of the common themes that emerged was that growing churches were generous churches.  They held lightly to their money and buildings, giving of time, talents and money for the ‘Common Good’ through acts of service and generosity.  They saw money as a resource to be used for the Kingdom rather than horded for a rainy day that never came.  This Lent is a prime opportunity to set time aside to realign our spiritual lives.  John writing his Gospel gives us a wonderful picture in chapter 15 of the vine and its branches.  In that Jesus says to his disciples:  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15 5-8  If we are going to be effective disciples, we need our lives to be rooted in Jesus. We have to learn not just to listen to Jesus’ words but live them out.  I think one of the reasons many of us find the pandemic restrictions so hard is that the Christian faith is primarily lived out in the community and is not a solitary or individual activity.  If we are going to make the most of Lent then we need, as a church, to rediscover a communal faith which looks outwards. To put our faith not in an institution called ‘church’ but instead in the person of Jesus who longs to change us into the people God created us to be.  However, you use these coming weeks why not discipline yourself to spend a few minutes each day to reflect on your spiritual journey and your relationship with God, to offer yourself to Him that we might become more like Him, as CS Lewis said: “We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” from Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chapter 4                                                         Derek

 

Services Next Sunday – 21st March – 5th Sunday of Lent                         

Weston-under-Penyard Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
The Lea Said Communion 9.00 a.m.
Hope Mansel Said Communion 11.00 a.m.
Aston Ingham Village Praise 10.00 a.m.
Linton All Ages Service 11.00 a.m.
Upton Bishop Said Communion 10.30 a.m.

Forthcoming Services & Events

ZOOM Services through the following link,
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6974222801?pwd=YS9KR3puZVpGbk9LQ0dTQXlvSFJ1QT09   Meeting ID: 697 422 2801    Passcode: 1662

ADDITIONAL ZOOM SERVICES through above link are as follows:

LENT ZOOM, starting weekly on 24th Feb at 2pm.

Please be aware that if you have any events you would like to advertise here, do please contact Debs directly (details below) and she will be pleased to include them.                                                 

Please pray for all who are sick,

Please pray for all who have died,

Rev David Howell 01989 568736    email:   revdavidhowell@btinternet.com

If you would like to receive this pew sheet via email please email Debs debsparishsecretary@btinternet.com


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