Weekly Pews News

no 20-20                                          Sixth Sunday of Easter

17 May 2020                                     

Worship online: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online

Diocese of Chichester daily videos to Pentecost: https://www.chichester.anglican.org/videos/

Resources for worship at home https://www.chichester.anglican.org/resources-for-worship-at-home

Thy Kingdom Come resources for family worship: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/digital-family-prayer-adventure-map

Joint national worship song ‘The Blessing UK’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U

Broadcasts: Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8:10 am and BBC1 at 10.45 am; Songs of Praise on BBC1 at 1.15 pm.

There are also many virtual resources for daily prayer, for example the Daily Prayer and Pray As You Go mobile apps (Google and Apple), and also online:

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer and https://www.thykingdomcome.global/prayer-resources                                                             ……………………………..

Collect   God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy; 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.  Amen.

Readings: Holy Communion (BCP: Fifth Sunday after Easter): James 1: 22-27; John 16: 23-33

The Eucharist: Acts 17: 22-31, Psalm 66: 7-18; 1 Peter 3: 13–end; John 14: 15-21

Sunday 17 May

Intention: the press, radio and television corporations, and all who influence public opinion; also Christian publishing and broadcasting.

Church family: Carol-Anne & Peter Pocock; Elizabeth & Brian Pope; Robin Potter; Tina & Michael Poyntz; Sylvia Pugh; Pauline Purdy; Gillian Purvis.

Anniversary: Kenneth Weeks (1989)

Monday 18 May

Intention: all seafarers, fishermen and lifeboat crews, and the work of Mission to Seafarers.

Church family: Margaret Rees; Sheila & Stuart Ridgewell; Jessie & Bob Riding; Malcolm Ridley; Grace Roope; Christine & Ray Rowe; Annette Rudduck.

Anniversary: Doris Vallerine (1996)

Tuesday 19 May – Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988

Intention: Church finances, national and international finance; consider what the words poverty and wealth mean to us.

Church family: Wendy & Richard Rundle; Pat & Bill Rush; Pam & Robert Sale; Dawn, Graham, Luke & Grace Salter; Daphne Sharrad.

Anniversary: Nora Jones (2001)

Wednesday 20 MayAlcuin of York, Abbot of Tours, 804

Intention: all victims of violence, crime and oppression; those affected by domestic and other forms of abuse, and all who seek to support them.

Church family: Shirley Shellswell; Margaret Sherwood; Nicky, Tom, Curtis & Ellis Simpson; Steph & Joseph Skinner, Paul, Freya & Jack Morrison; Aimee, Jason, Ava & Monty Smith.

Anniversary: Gordon Halford (1993)

Thursday 21 May – Ascension Day (see Thy Kingdom Come website for Nine Days of Prayer to Pentecost)

Holy Communion (BCP) Acts 1: 1-11; Mark 16: 14-20

The Eucharist (CW) Acts 1: 1-11; Psalm 93; Ephesians 1: 15-23; Luke 24: 44-53

Intention: the sick in body, mind or spirit; those who have life-limiting conditions; the work of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Church family: Betty Smith; Sue & David Smith; Jane, Charlotte & Lauren Smith; Sue Smith; Mary Spencer; Jenny Spurle; Roger Steadman.

Anniversary: Albert Baldwin (1981); Christopher Greenfield (1985); Florence Dobson (1996)

Friday 22 May

Intention: our Deanery of Arundel & Bognor, and its parishes, clergy and people; our Rural Dean Mark Standen, and the work of Deanery Synod.

Church family: Barbara Stewart; Bett Steenerson; Linda Tempest; Emma, Spencer, Joseph, Ben & Poppy Thomas; Val & Bob Tomlinson.

Anniversary: Ernest Denyer (1996); Steven Prince (2014)

Saturday 23 May

Intention: all those who do difficult work on our behalf, especially in the armed services and the emergency services.

Church family: Eileen Tooley; Simon Tooley; Louise, Nick, Sophie, Lucy & Chloe Toone; Diane & Brian Townson; Stephen Tribe; Carol & Tony Turner; Carole & Ian Turner.

Anniversary: Wendy Holyoak (1991)

PRAYERS AND INTENTIONS

We pray for all in need of healing in body, mind or spirit: Lynette, Rosie Sims, Richard Rundle, Terry Haskell, Jean Martin, Gemma Green, Lila Cowee, Barbara Crew, June Evans, Zoe, Bea & Laurie Tucker, Shelagh, Karen Cox, Jim Druce, Jim Fowler, Beatrice Armstrong.

For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to activate the Prayer Chain.

Those who have died: Chloe Green, Hilda Baxendale.

We remember in our prayers Church family who live in residential care or usually receive communion at home: Catherine Morrish, Daphne Sharrad, Bett Steenerson.

We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Inglewood Close, Inglewood Drive, Jubilee Close.

We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; scientists advising national and international leaders, and researchers working together globally on testing, treatment and vaccination programmes.

NOTICES

Christian Aid Week: thank you to all who prayed, donated and supported this essential charity work. Please inform Sue O’Neill (07867 9047080) or Trudi Kearsley (263597) of donations made, for our Church records. Support is even more important during the pandemic, and throughout the year!

Thy Kingdom Come Novena (nine days): resources for prayer and worship from Ascension to Pentecost are to be found on https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/key-resources-2020.

Stay in touch: Pagham Church Facebook page ‘Thomas Becket’; for those online but not on Facebook, follow the news on Pagham Church website, or use the contact numbers below for updates.

Chichester Diocese pastoral helpline, ‘Hearing You’, for listening and prayer support: 01273 425047.

Samaritans: call free on 116 123, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you.

Safeguarding: the lockdown has caused additional and serious problems for many of those experiencing domestic abuse. If you have any concerns regarding this, please contact Worth Domestic Abuse Service 0330 222 8181 (weekdays) or 07834 968539 (weekends and bank holidays).

Children: for any child abuse concerns, please contact WSCC MASH 01403 229900, https://www.westsussexscp.org.uk/2016/04/multi-agency-safeguarding-hub-mash/

Our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Jan Brockhurst, can give advice (see under Contacts below), and also our Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator, Linda Hill: 07759 855719, domesticabuse@paghamchurch.org.

Safe Space Sussex has been equipped with a new search tool so that victims of any crime can find the service they need within 10 seconds. https://www.safespacesussex.org.uk/  Victims can access the new website covertly, as they may be living with their perpetrators during ‘lockdown’. They can also let Sussex Police know they’re in danger by calling 999 silently, then pressing 55 on the phone. CONTACT DETAILS

Churchwardens: Mike Wake and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge: churchwarden@paghamchurch.org, 07899 705632//07974 177905.

Church website update: email editor@paghamchurch.org to add content.

Safeguarding Officer: Jan Brockhurst: safeguarding@paghamchurch.org.

Pews News: Alison Blenkinsop: pewsnews@paghamchurch.org, 261131.

SERMON

John 14:15-31                 The Sixth Sunday of Easter                                         17 May 2020

Todays lectionary Gospel Reading, which follows on from last weeks reading is John 14v15-21, but I am asking you to read John 14v15-31. John’s Gospel, chapter 13v31 to chapter 16v33 is known as the Farewell Discourse. It was given by Jesus to eleven of his disciples (as Judas had left them), and it was given immediately after they had finished the Last Supper and the night before his crucifixion.

In this discourse Jesus is preparing his disciples for their work and mission for the time that he would no longer be with them.  He told them (13:33) ‘little children, I am with you only a little longer’.  Their whole world had been so wrapped up with Jesus over the past few years of his public ministry, that the prospect of him leaving must have been devastating for them.  The image Jesus uses is that of an ‘orphan’.  He says 14:18 ‘I will not leave you orphaned, I am coming to you’.  The loss of Jesus to the disciples is like a young child’s loss of their parents. Shattering.  He had tried to prepare them for this, but they could not understand it.   So to reassure them He said ‘do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me’. (14:1) And ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’. (14:6) These are verses we read last Sunday (John 14:1-14).

But the thought of Jesus leaving the disciples in this farewell discourse is where we are now in the calendar of the Christian Year.  On Good Friday we commemorated Jesus dying on the cross, on Easter day we celebrated his resurrection and victory over death.  We are now in the forty days between the resurrection and the Ascension, a period during which the risen Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples, to Mary, to crowds, etc. now Jesus says ‘I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth…’ (14:16-17) But for the Holy Spirit to come, Jesus had to leave them.  How could he do that?  The post resurrection appearances of Jesus needed a definite end.  But how?  Jesus couldn’t die again, he had done that once. The resurrection appearances couldn’t just fade out, he couldn’t dissolve on the spot.  Jesus had to demonstrate to the disciples that he was returning to the Father.  Hence the Ascension, that we celebrate this coming Thursday, and the symbol of the cloud enveloping and transporting Jesus to the Father and heavenly glory.  And after that Pentecost, (next Sunday week), when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in all his fullness.  So there was no need for the disciples hearts to be troubled because when the Holy Spirit came, He, or the Spirit of Jesus could be with them all the time. This is true for us.

But in the section of this farewell discourse which we read today, there is another important truth that I now want to focus our thoughts on. Jesus makes the same point four times.  When in scripture Jesus emphasises a point like this it is because it is important. This is what he said ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’ (v15). ‘They who have my commandments and keep them, are those who love me’ (v21). Jesus replied ‘Those who love mw will keep my word’ (v23). ‘Whoever does not love me does not keep my words’ (v24).  This is a teaching that was applicable not just to those first disciples, but to all the disciples down the ages, me and you.  Though we of course have the benefit of the Holy Spirit to encourage and empower us.

So what does all this mean for us today?  What does it mean for us to be obedient to the commandments and teaching of Jesus? There is a story of a Jew and a Christian who were having a discussion about their particular faiths and the Jew argued that the Christians had taken everything from the Jewish faith.  ‘Like what’ asked the Christian?  ‘Like the ten commandments, for a start’, said the Jew.  ‘We may have taken them’ replied the Christian, ‘but you can’t possibly accuse us of keeping them’!

Jesus said v15 ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’. To his immediate disciples he was saying ‘if you really love me, prove your love not by lamenting my departure, but by doing my will when I am gone’.  By v21 ‘They who have my commandments and keep them, are those who love me’ For us today, the proof of our love for Jesus is our obedience to his commands, his teaching, his will, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, living holy lives, going and making disciples, etc.  It is not just talking about Christian things, it is ‘living the life’. When the risen Lord Jesus said to Peter ‘do you love me’, and Peter replied ‘Yes Lord, you know that I love you’, Jesus’ response was to say to Peter ‘feed my lambs’ and ‘feed my sheep’.  Jesus was in effect saying demonstrate your love by doing something, following my example, by working out the Gospel in your own life.

Of course, we must not take this out of context.  Keeping Christ’s commandments, doing good things cannot save us, ‘For by grace are we saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast’ Ephesians 2:8-10.  Even our best works are imperfect and feeble.  But having said that, faith in the saving work of Christ must always be followed by loving obedience to the will of Christ.

We have recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day. When Hitler began interfering in the life of the churches and humiliating German Jews, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran clergyman, began to resist and protest.  He refused to participate in the State churches which bowed to Hitler’s demands.  Several of Bonhoeffer’s friends urged him to be more flexible, arguing that they would lose the opportunity to preach altogether if they followed Bonhoeffer’s example.  He replied ‘One act of obedience is better than one thousand sermons. For holding that conviction he eventually paid with his life, he was imprisoned in 1943 and hung by the Nazi’s in April 1945.

Jesus said ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’ (v15).   I want very briefly to mention how we work this out in three very practical ways.

The first , Obedience means living holy lives. The scripture says ‘as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct’ (1 Peter 1:15).   Where the Holy Spirit is, there should be a holy life.  John Stott, a very influential Christian leader and teacher who died a few years ago, in his final public sermon reflected on ‘what is God’s purpose for his people’.  He said ‘I want to share with you where my mind has come to rest as I approach the end of my pilgrimage on earth and it is this: God wants his people to become like Christ.  Christlikeness is his will for the people of God’.  If we love Christ we will want to live Christ like lives.  I know we all fail, but I believe that something of Jesus should be seen in every Christian.

The Second is obedience to the will of God in the big issues, global issues, environmental issues, carbon footprints, justice issues, issues of human dignity, hard issues, grey issues which impact on us in everyday ways, some of which we seem to have little control over.  But we can consider some of them in every day very practical ways: eg what we recycle, our impact on climate change, how we care for and offer dignity to the elderly and handicapped and vulnerable, how we handle our own money,  etc.  When we do our shopping there are decisions to make. Do we buy local produce, Fair Trade, our use of plastic bags, how much of the food we buy will we waste, etc.

What we need to do is to develop a Christian mind, a mind informed with Christian principles, not a mind which only thinks about Christian things, but a mind which thinks about all things Christianly.  This is why we need to study the scriptures, that we may learn the mind of Christ.

The third area is our obedience to God’s call to us.  Are we obedient to what God is calling us personally to be or do?  Are we open to God speaking to us? Are we close enough to God to recognise his voice?  Is God calling us to some ministry in the community?  Christians should be active in every area of society.  Is God calling us to a new ministry within his church?  It may be a ministry in the local church here or in the wider church. At the recent funeral of Pauline Lucas at which Keith Smith officiated, he spoke of how Pauline responded so positively to God’s call to her to be ordained.  Not only do we need to hear the call of God, we need to obey his call. The hymn some of us used to sing ‘When we walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way’, has the chorus which makes the point well:

                                                Trust and obey,

                                                For there’s no other way

                                                To be happy in Jesus,

                                                But to trust and obey.

                                Alleluia! Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

                                                                                                                                 Colin Wood