Weekly Pews News
no 20-21 Seventh Sunday of Easter
24 May 2020
Worship online Diocese of Chichester daily videos to Pentecost: https://www.chichester.anglican.org/videos/
https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer Thy Kingdom Come resources: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/prayer-resources
Radio 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. Also Premier Christian Radio daily; Sunday service 7 am-1 pm (on DAB nationally, Freeview 725, iPhone and Android apps)
Daily prayer smartphone apps: Daily Prayer and Pray As You Go
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. Amen.
Readings: Holy Communion (BCP: Sunday after Ascension): 1 Peter 4: 7-11; John 15: 26 to John 16:4a
The Eucharist (CW): Acts 1: 6-14; Psalm 68: 1-10, 33-36; 1 Peter 4: 12-14 and 5: 6-11; John 17: 1-11
Sunday 24 May
Intention: the Church’s worldwide mission; all missionary societies and the Bible Society.
Church family: Janet & Roger Turner; Jane Upton; Wendy & Gerald Ursell; Susie & Adrian Usher; Ashley, Zita, Benjamin, Dominic & George Vida.
Monday 25 May – The Venerable Bede, Historian, 735
Intention: our Diocese of Chichester, Bishop Martin and Archdeacon Luke; the work of Diocesan Synod and Church House; the witness of Chichester Cathedral.
Church family: Julia Webb; Mary Welch; Joan & Tony Wells; Rosemary West; Judith Whitworth; Annaliesa, Ben, Amelia & Jemima Whitworth; Maria & Bill Wildman.
Tuesday 26 May – Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605
Intention: the elderly, lonely and bereaved; all those in residential care and those who care for them.
Church family: Frank Williams; Laura, John, Sophie, Eva & Harriet Williams; Diane Wills; Heidi & David Wilson-Le-Moine; Shirley Witcomb; Jenny & Colin Wood; Maureen Yates.
Anniversary: Frank Baker (1994)
Wednesday 27 May
Intention: all who work for peace and justice; the maintenance of good relationships with the United Nations and all other countries.
Church family: the recently baptised and those preparing for baptism.
Anniversary: Maude Teulon (1982)
Thursday 28 May
Intention: vocations to the ordained ministry, especially in our own parish; theological colleges and ordinands in training; our own Parish ordinand Gemma Green; vocations to the religious life.
Church family: the recently married and those preparing for marriage.
Anniversary: John Blackman (1994)
Friday 29 May
Intention: our mission to our own parish; the outreach of our parish newsletter; all newcomers to Pagham, and to our Church family.
Church family: newcomers to the parish and our Church family.
Saturday 30 May – Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1906
Intention: our neighbouring Churches, and the work of Churches Together in Bognor Regis and District.
Anniversary: Cis Humphries (1998)
Sunday 31 May – Pentecost
Holy Communion (BCP: Whit Sunday) Readings: Acts 2: 1-11; John 14: 15-31a The Eucharist (CW) Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104: 24–end; 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13; John 20: 19-23 ..……………………
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 activate the Prayer Chain.
Hilda Baxendale: the family writes that Hilda, who recently died aged 98, retired to Aldwick with her husband Don (d 2007) almost four decades ago. They were happy years, and she was well loved by family and neighbours alike. She was a regular worshipper at the 8 am Communion Service, and her ashes will join those of Don in the churchyard. // We give thanks for Hilda’s life and witness.
We remember in our prayers Church family who live in residential care or usually receive communion at home: Edna Swinnerton-Beet, Jane Upton, Maureen Yates.
We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: June Close, Kestrel Court, King’s Drive.
We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for wise decisions around the return of children to school, and protection for them, their teachers and their families.
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.
GOOD NEWS! We rejoice that our ordinand, Gemma Green, is now engaged to Jonathan Fleury who is also studying at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield. They plan to marry in the autumn, and will continue their third year of studies together before ordination in 2021. Gemma thanks God that her health challenges are being well managed, and says she has felt very supported by everyone’s prayers. We pray for Gemma and Jonathan in their ongoing journey of commitment to each other and to Christ.
Contact Alison Blenkinsop (details below) to send a message to Gemma by 1 June.
Stay in touch: Pagham Church Facebook page ‘Thomas Becket’, 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.
Awareness of suicide: the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is a collaboration of NHS trusts, charities, businesses and individuals who are committed to suicide prevention. They offer short online training courses (10-20 mins) to help people encourage friends and family to share thoughts of self-harm, so that specialist support may be given. (Alison found the initial course really helpful; contact for info.) Suicide is preventable. https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training
Safeguarding: if you have any concerns regarding domestic abuse, contact Worth Domestic Abuse Service 0330 222 8181 (weekdays) or 07834 968539 (weekends and bank holidays).
Children: for any child abuse concerns, 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, firstname.lastname@example.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: 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.
Acts 1:6-14; John 17:1-11 The Seventh Sunday of Easter 24 May 2020
At first sight I find this Sunday rather strange in the Christian Calendar. In reality we know that the Holy Spirit is now with us all the time in all his fullness. However the situation in the Christian Year is that we celebrated Ascension Day last Thursday when we celebrated Jesus ascending into heaven and sitting at the right side of God his Father. But the day of Pentecost when we celebrate the Holy Spirit coming in all his fullness is not until next Sunday. Today is the Sunday between these two festivals.
We must put ourselves in the position of the apostles in Acts 1v12-14, who, after Jesus had ascended into heaven and before the coming of the Holy Spirit, had returned to Jerusalem. They went to the room where they were staying, whether this was the room where Jesus spent his last evening with them and instituted the Lord’s Supper, or some other room is not certain. But what they did there was ‘constantly devoting themselves to prayer’ (v14).
Prayer is the link with today’s Gospel Reading from John 17. It follows on from the Farewell Discourse that we thought about last week which was given by Jesus to his disciples in the Upper Room immediately after they had finished the Last Supper and the night before his crucifixion. After this Jesus prayed, so John 17 begins “After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you’” (17v1). Our passage today is part of the great prayer of Jesus which William Temple described as ‘perhaps the most sacred passage even in the four gospels – the record of the Lord’s Prayer of self-dedication as it lived in the memory and imagination of his most intimate friend’.
Jesus had been strengthening his disciples, explaining to them that he would now physically leave them as the cross beckons, but then the gift of the Holy Spirit would come (John 16v4b-15). But having given his attention to the disciples and their needs Jesus now addresses his Father. It is a long prayer, the only long prayer of Jesus which is recorded, offered after the Last Supper, but before his betrayal and crucifixion.
This great prayer of Jesus splits neatly into three sections, although they do overlap a little: v1-5 Jesus prays for himself; v6-19 Jesus prays for the disciples; v20-26 Jesus prays for all believers. Today I will concentrate on v1-5 in which Jesus prays for himself.
John’s Gospel is heavy with themes that recur. One of these themes is ‘hour’. ‘The hour has come’ (17v1). At the first sign when Jesus changed water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, Jesus said ‘my hour has not yet come’ (John 2v4). At that time, the beginning of his public ministry, his destiny was ever before him. When Jesus taught the people of Jerusalem in the temple, the authorities tried to seize him but found they couldn’t, because his ‘hour had not yet come’ (7v30; 8v20), and there are other examples.
But when Jesus washed the disciple’s feet before the festival of the Passover, ‘Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father’ (13v1). He knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and return to his Father.
Jesus was living his life in the context of eternity. Yes, obviously Jesus was a special case, but it is a reminder for us to live our lives holding on to an eternal perspective. St Paul said ‘… we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4v18).
If we view our lives only from a physical point of view, then we are on an inevitable downhill slope to death. But there is more to life than just the physical as we well know. One of the reasons we gather to worship is to feed the spiritual aspect of our lives, and we are missing this in the current lockdown. From a spiritual point of view, someone said life is like climbing a hill that leads to the peak of the presence of the glory of God. That is why, midst all the problems and distress in these present days it is important to remember that life is both physical and spiritual, and we need to keep the spiritual, eternal dimension in mind.
A second major theme in John’s Gospel is ‘Glory’. In today’s reading ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you’ (17v1). In the first five verses of John 17, the word ‘glory’ or ‘glorify’ occurs five times. Glory was first introduced at the end of the prologue ‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth’ (1v14).
Donald Coggan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, asks the question in one of his books that if we had to complete that verse ‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his ….’ how would we have completed the verse? Possibly by saying ‘we have seen his humiliation’, for Jesus made himself of no reputation, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on the cross. But for John, the cross is not humiliation, it is glory. No longer is the cross a stumbling block, but a stairway by which the Son ascends to the Father.
The Father glorifies Jesus by sustaining him in his perfect obedience, even unto death. Jesus glorifies the Father by the perfection of the obedience which he offers. So the cross becomes the means of glory, because Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross is the expression of his love and because it marked the completion of his work on earth.
There is a First World War painting showing an engineer fixing an essential field telephone line. He had just finished the work so the essential messages could get through, when he was shot. The painting shows him at the moment of his death, and the caption written under the painting is ‘through’. The engineer had given his life so that the message could get through. That is what Jesus did, he gave his life so that the love of God could get through to all people. And so the cross was his glory. His was perfect obedience in perfect love.
From this follows two things. In v2 Jesus gives eternal life, and in v4 Jesus work on earth was finished. Through these two truths of Jesus’ life, the Father is glorified.
It is our duty and our joy to bring glory to God ourselves. A well known phrase from the Westminster Shorter Catechism says ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him for ever’. We do it in the same way as Jesus, by doing the work of God in the world. Our worship should lead to mission. In the prayer at the end of the Eucharist we say ‘Send us out in the power of the Spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory’. In the Service we have fed on Christ, now we go out to live and to work to his praise and glory.
One final thought – Jesus prayed for Himself. Yes, it was a prayer of consecration of himself as the cross loomed. This was a key point in his life, and I know that is unique.
But many of us older Christians were brought up almost to despise ourselves. You may have sung that little chorus based on the word JOY – Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between. But we need to remember the great commandments are to love God and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
Sometimes Christians feel they should not be concerned about themselves. We fix our eyes on God, or on other people, but to be concerned about ourselves we might think is almost selfish introspection. The JOY chorus is a ‘clever little ditty’, but I believe it is wrong thinking. I believe we do need to care about ourselves and pray for ourselves, and not feel guilty about it. If Jesus prayed for himself, so should we.
Someone said ‘joy is the echo of God’s life within us’, and so a much better chorus to sing about joy is ‘Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart … when the King is in residence there.’
So, no need to feel guilty about praying to God for ourselves, our needs, when we need guidance or talk through our issues with Him. And, of course praying that our lives may bring glory to God.
Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!