Weekly Pews News
no 20-25 Second Sunday after Trinity
21 June 2020
Radio broadcasts: Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8:10 am and BBC1 mid-morning (check time); Songs of Praise on BBC1 at 1.15 pm. Also Premier Christian Radio daily; Sunday service 7 am-1 pm (on DAB nationally, Freeview 725, mobile apps); Angel Radio Sunday service 9 am, rep 11.30 pm (local radio for the older community, on FM 89.3, DAB and online: http://angelradio.co.uk/)
Smartphone free apps: Daily Prayer, Pray As You Go, Lectio365 (Bible readings from the 24-7 Prayer movement).
Scripture Union online resources for young people: https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/lockdown
Collect Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Readings: Holy Communion 1 John 3: 13-24; Luke 14: 16-24
The Eucharist Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69: 8-11, 18-20; Romans 6: 1b-11; Matthew 10: 24-39
Sunday 21 June
Intention: the sick in body, mind or spirit; those who have life-limiting conditions; the work of St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
Church family: Daphne Sharrad; Shirley Shellswell; Margaret Sherwood; Nicky, Tom, Curtis & Ellis Simpson; Steph & Joseph Skinner, Paul, Freya & Jack Morrison.
Monday 22 June – Alban, first martyr of Britain, c.250
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: Aimee, Jason, Ava & Monty Smith; Betty Smith; Jane, Charlotte & Lauren Smith; Sue Smith; Sue & David Smith; Mary Spencer; Jenny Spurle; Roger Steadman.
Tuesday 23 June – Etheldreda, Abbess, c.678
Intention: all those who do difficult work on our behalf, especially in the armed services and the emergency services.
Church family: Barbara Stewart; Bett Steenerson; Linda Tempest; Emma, Spencer, Joseph, Ben & Poppy Thomas; Val & Bob Tomlinson; Eileen Tooley; Simon Tooley.
Anniversary: Elsie Smith (1994)
Wednesday 24 June – Birth of John the Baptist
Intention: the Church’s worldwide mission; all missionary societies and the Bible Society.
Church family: Louise, Nick, Sophie, Lucy & Chloe Toone; Diane & Brian Townson; Stephen Tribe; Carol & Tony Turner; Carole & Ian Turner; Janet & Roger Turner; Jane Upton.
Thursday 25 June
Intention: our Diocese of Chichester, Bishop Martin, Bishops-designate Ruth and William, and Archdeacon Luke; the work of Diocesan Synod and Church House; the witness of Chichester Cathedral.
Church family: Wendy & Gerald Ursell; Susie & Adrian Usher; Ashley, Zita, Benjamin, Dominic & George Vida; Mike & Pat Wake; Sue Ward; Julia Webb; Mary Welch.
Friday 26 June
Intention: the elderly, lonely and bereaved; all those in residential care and those who care for them.
Church family: Joan & Tony Wells; Rosemary West; Annaliesa, Ben, Amelia & Jemima Whitworth; Judith Whitworth; Maria & Bill Wildman; Frank Williams.
1 pm Burial of ashes of Renee Beatrice Wilmot
Anniversary: Lilian Goring (1991); June Clement (2004)
Saturday 27 June
Intention: all who work for peace and justice; the maintenance of good relationships with the United Nations and all other countries.
Church family: Laura, John, Sophie, Eva & Harriet Williams; Diane Wills; Heidi & David Wilson-Le-Moine; Shirley Witcomb; Jenny & Colin Wood; Maureen Yates.
Anniversary: Joyce Eddy (1980); Archer Hart (1992); Phyllis Smith (1996)
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, Lila Cowee, Barbara Crew, June Evans, Zoe, Bea & Laurie Tucker, Shelagh, Karen Cox, Jim Druce, Jim Fowler.
For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to start the Prayer Chain.
Those who have died: Renee Beatrice Wilmot, Paul Goodland.
We remember 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: Lion Road, Lodsworth Road, Lower Bognor Road.
We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for safety as our church and other places of worship reopen for private prayer; for meaningful conversations with those who come to worship and pray.
We pray for the family and friends of Paul (Pyro) Goodland as they mourn his loss. He was Pagham’s much loved Group Scout Leader, and will be greatly missed. A tribute will be included next week.
Freewill Offering Trudi writes: our Church income is severely restricted at present, but expenditure continues. Thank you to everyone continuing to make freewill offerings to the Church via PGS and Standing Orders, and in person to me. Here are the church bank account details again:
Account name: Pagham Parochial Church Council – Account Number: 80738948 – Sort Code: 20-20-62
You can also drop them into me at 37 West Drive, or call to arrange collection. To discuss changing your method of giving, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01243 263597/07703597353.
Our church will now open twice weekly for private prayer, Sundays 1-4pm & Thursdays 10-1pm.
Parish vacancy: the churchwardens write: ‘Several people are asking if there is any news regarding a new parish priest. The short answer is no. Because of the lockdown any appointment is on hold until the present restrictions are lifted. If coronavirus hadn’t happened, we most certainly would have been well on the way to having someone appointed and installed by Christmas. Any new parish priest would have to go through a face to face interview including visiting the parish, but of course none of that can happen in the present circumstances. It is as frustrating for the churchwardens as it is for everyone else, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it, we will just have to be patient for a little longer.’
Engage with the Bible! The Rector of Leeds Minster, Revd Canon Sam Corley, began posting short videos about the Bible and its 66 books on YouTube in May. The first is entitled ‘Introducing the Bible – a Book of Books’. Find the Leeds Minster ‘playlist’, and follow the daily posts. Highly recommended! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiEYWfMmuteSqksMSm-0V52bRWg1QSRMH
Beating the Bounds: a report is attached of day 3, Lagness to the north wall of Pagham Harbour. It mentions last year’s outdoor patronal festival. Please note that this year’s celebration has been deferred.
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.
Churchwardens: Mike Wake and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge: email@example.com,
07899 705632//07974 177905.
Church website update: email firstname.lastname@example.org to add content.
Safeguarding Officer: Jan Brockhurst: email@example.com
Pews News: Alison Blenkinsop: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01243 261131, 07784 544981.
Romans 6:1b-11 The Second Sunday After Trinity 21st June 2020
Our reading today in Romans 6 marks a transition point in Paul’s letter. In Chapters 3-5 Paul has been considering the truth that we are made right with God through our faith in Jesus. We are justified by faith. Our sin cut us off from God, but we are put right with God through our faith in Jesus who died on the cross and took our sin upon himself and so paid the penalty for our sin. We have been put right with God, so what about the way we live now? This is the subject that Paul now addresses in Romans 6
In chapter 5v20-21 Paul wrote ‘But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’.
Grace is a lovely Christian word, which was mentioned last week (5v2a). John Stott said ‘grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues’, and God is always ready to give us more grace. God is a gracious God. There is a story of a little boy from a large family who met with an accident and was taken to hospital. They were a poor family and if given a glass of milk at home, the little boy would always have to share it with at least two others. In hospital, the nurse brought him a large glass of milk, and he asked shyly, ‘how deep should I drink’? The nurse told him he could have it all and there was more from where that had come. So it is with God’s grace. It is both inexhaustible and constantly available. God is on our side! He is gracious. He is a God of grace.
Now Paul begins this section of his letter in Romans 6 with an argument against an imaginary opponent, an argument with its starting point of that verse at the end of chapter 5 ‘where sin increased, grace increased all the more’. William Barclay the Scottish theologian put it well:
“ The objector says: ‘you have just said that God’s grace is great enough to find forgiveness for every sin’. ‘That is right’ says St Paul.
The objector says: ‘You are in fact saying that God’s grace is the greatest and most wonderful thing in all this world.’ ‘That is right’ says St Paul.
The objector says: ‘Well, if that is so, let us go on sinning. The more we sin, the more grace will abound. Sin does not matter, because God will forgive anyway. Indeed we can go further and say sinning is a good thing because it gives the grace of God even more opportunity to operate’. ”
The objector is saying that sin produces grace. Therefore sin is a good thing because it produces the greatest thing in the world, grace’. At this stage in this imaginary argument Paul recoils in horror, he says in 6:2 ‘By no means! How can we who died to sin, go on living in it’?
The big question is what does it mean ‘to have died to sin’? How and in what sense have we died to sin? If we have died to sin, why do we confess our sins each week in church (when we can go)? If we have died to sin, why do we keep on sinning? Paul sees a moral incongruity in this. We are Christians we will not want to live sinful lives, but we do – yet we have died to sin. What does all this mean?
Paul illustrates the fact that we have died to sin with an argument from baptism. Basically Paul says a Christian is someone who has a vital personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and baptism signifies this union with Christ. I know we baptise babies and I believe there are very good reasons for doing so, not least as a demonstration of God’s grace to us. But let us stay with Paul’s comments about baptism in Romans 6.
Of course baptism has a number of meanings, a washing away of sin (that is why we use water); entry into the church (that is why the font is often at the entrance of the church); the gift of the Holy Spirit. But also, and most importantly, baptism signifies union with Christ. And Paul says that baptism into Christ is baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is where baptism by immersion is such a powerful symbol. The baptismal candidate goes under the water, buried with Christ in his death, united with Christ in his death, and rises up out of the water, a rising to new life, united with Christ in his resurrection. A baptism service is like a funeral service and resurrection service rolled into one. Baptism symbolises this unity with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
This is how the early Christians saw baptism – as a dying and then a rising. To add to the symbolism, in the early church baptisms were only held at Easter when the death and resurrection of Jesus were celebrated. Furthermore when the candidates were baptised they took off their old clothes when they went down into the water and when they came up out of the water they put on a new white robe. They put off the old, they put on the new, they had died to sin, they rose to new life. We need to grasp the power of that drama. Dying to sin, the old life, and rising to new life.
But living it is not easy! The problem is, as Paul said in Romans 7:15: ‘I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate’. I am sure we can all identify with that scenario. So back to the big question. What did Paul mean when he said ‘we died to sin’? I suggest that it is because as Christians one of the works of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin so that we become very sensitive to sin. In fact when we become Christians we probably have a heightened sense of what is wrong, our consciences become more alert. That is the reality for us. But in 6v12 Paul says ‘do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions’. There would have been no point in him saying that if ‘we were dead to sin’ meant we were totally unresponsive to it.
However, we have died to sin in the sense that Christ has met the demands of sin and paid the penalty for our sin when he died on the cross. He took our place, bore our guilt, took our punishment upon himself, so that we could be forgiven. We have died to sin in the sense that the penalty for our sin, death, has been paid by Christ. And we are united with Christ in his death, baptism illustrates this, and so in our union with Christ the penalty for our sin has been paid. But not only are we united with Christ in his death, we are also united with him in his resurrection. And yet we live in a sinful world, we are still human, temptation is all around us, and we fail, we sin, we are not holy as God is holy. And so we need to keep on reminding ourselves that we are in Christ, we are united with Christ, we have identified ourselves with not only the death of Christ, but also the resurrection of Christ and should live accordingly. And so, v11 ‘So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus’. We can do this because Jesus has paid the price.
There is a story, and it is only a story, of an old Eskimo fisherman who had two dogs. One was black and the other white, and he trained them to fight. Every Saturday he took them to the local market and took bets as to which would win. Sometimes the black dog won, sometimes the white dog won, but the old Eskimo fisherman always won. Someone once asked him what was his secret. Well, he said, ‘sometimes I feed the white dog and starve the black dog, other times vice versa. The one I starve is too weak to fight and will always lose, the one I feed is strong and always wins’.
As Christians we must do that. Starve the old nature and feed the new nature. We must starve the old nature, the things that are not of God, stay away from those areas that tempt us so that we do not succumb to temptation. And we must feed the new nature, so that the Spirit, the things of God, the love of God, his holiness, can grow in us. We must spend time with God, and his people and his word, so that we may be strong in him. This will help us to die to sin and be alive to Christ, and continually create in us a fresh joy and hopefulness and expectancy in God who is alive today, because Christ has risen. We will want to live and grow in the love of God.
We must continually remind ourselves of who we are, we are Christians, united with Christ in his death and resurrection. We need to keep on reminding ourselves, and keep on saying to ourselves ‘Yes, I am a new person in Christ, I am a new creation, and by the grace of God I mean to live accordingly.’
As Dave Bilbrough’s song puts it:
Verse 1. I am a new creation, no more in condemnation, here in the grace of God I stand.
Verse 2. My heart is overflowing, my love just keeps on growing, here in the grace of God I stand.
Verse 3. And I will praise you Lord, yes I will praise you Lord, and I will sing of all that you have done.
Verse 4. A joy that knows no limit, a lightness in my spirit, here in the grace of God I stand.