Weekly Pews News
no 20-30 Seventh Sunday after Trinity
26 July 2020
Radio & TV broadcasts: Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8:10 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, 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 (from the 24-7 Prayer movement).
24-hour freephone: Daily Hope for Christian worship, set up by Archbishop Justin: 0800 804 8044.
Collect Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; 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.
8 am Holy Communion (at home): Readings Romans 6: 19-23; Mark 8: 1-9
9:45 am The Eucharist (in church):
Readings 1 Kings 3: 5-12; Psalm 119: 129-136; Romans 8: 26–end; Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52
Psalm response: Lord, how I love your law.
Sunday 26 July
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.
4.15 pm Singing of hymns in Swandene (time dependent on the weather) – see below.
Anniversary: Bernard Aldridge (2012)
Monday 27 July
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.
Tuesday 28 July
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 baptised and those preparing for baptism.
Anniversary: Phyllis Taylor (1982); Wilfrid Tribe (2001)
Wednesday 29 July – Mary, Martha & Lazarus, companions of Our Lord
Intention: our mission to our own parish; the outreach of our parish newsletter; all newcomers to Pagham, and to our Church family.
Church family: the recently married and those preparing for marriage.
10 am Holy Communion (in church)
Anniversary: Laura Hart (1988); Frank Jeune (1994); Roy Gristwood (2004); Daphne Standen (2006)
Thursday 30 July – William Wilberforce, social reformer, 1833
Intention: our neighbouring Churches, and the work of Churches Together in Bognor Regis and District.
Church family: Revd Lucy Sullivan preparing to minister to Pagham and Aldwick in September.
Anniversary: Ellen Bell (1970); Bill Gulliver (2001); Betty Riddle (2011)
Friday 31 July
Intention: our family and friends.
Anniversary: Sidney Harris (1992); John Ramsay (2004)
Saturday 1 August
Intention: our Parish Team – Clergy: Colin Wood, Bill Meyer; Reader: Roland Ell; Churchwardens: Mike Wake, Stephen Cox-Rusbridge.
Church Family: Adriana, Phil & Alexandru Antoniu-Martin; Beatrice Armstrong; Caryl & Michael Atherton; June Baker; Jessica, Paul, George, Teddy & Jack Baker; Helen Barnett.
Anniversary: Walter Mitson (1967); Donald Hurst (1997)
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, Father Chris, Elizabeth Pett.
For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to start the Prayer Chain.
Those who have died: Eileen Knight.
We remember 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: Nyetimber Lane, Oaktree Close, Old Barn Close.
We pray for Revd Lucy Sullivan as she prepares to minister in Pagham and Aldwick from September.
We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for wisdom in all decisions about resuming public worship.
Church services: we are holding services of Holy Communion (with all Covid-safe measures in place) each Sunday and Wednesday morning. As numbers are limited, please inform Trudi if you plan to come to a Sunday service: firstname.lastname@example.org; 01243 263597//07703 597353.
Please bring your own order of service, available by email from Trudi, or your own prayer book. A few printed copies are available for those not on email, to be kept by each person for future services.
We are very grateful to Colin Wood for his interesting and helpful sermons on Paul’s epistle to the Romans, written each week for the last four months. His 19th and final sermon is included with this week’s Pews News, and all are available to download from the parish website. Colin has shown the same desire to share the good news as St Paul, who wrote: ‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes’ (Romans 1: 16). Thank you, Colin!
Face coverings: following new government guidance, the Church of England now strongly advises all who come into the church to wear a face covering. There is more information in the email that accompanies this edition of Pews News. Cotton masks are available in church for a donation to church funds – thanks to Trudi!
Hymn singing: join Alison Blenkinsop for hymn and community singing outside her home in Swandene every Sunday at 4.15 pm, weather permitting. Seating is provided. Contact her on 261131 or 07784 544981 if you plan to come, as numbers have to be limited, and to get last-minute timing details.
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.
Bognor Regis Foodbank: donations of food and/or money are very much appreciated. Check out what’s needed online: https://bognorregis.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/. There are donation bins in supermarkets and the two Co-op stores in Rose Green, or give directly here: The Shore Community Church, 73 Victoria Drive, PO21 2TD on Weds 9.30–1 pm, or again at church now:
“Church is back! but food collections for the homeless and less fortunate have continued. I would like to thank all those who phoned me at home about a donation. We arranged a time and place to meet, I collected the food and took it to the Foodbank. Please continue to give as before, or into the church crate when it is open for services. Thank you!” Stephen Tribe, 01243 268708//07503 157117.
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 8v26-39 The Seventh Sunday After Trinity 26 July 2020
Paul wrote in Romans 8v31 ‘What then are we to say about these things?’ What things? Some of the things that Paul has described in Chapters 5 to 8 that we have been thinking about these past few weeks are the great privileges that are ours as Christians.
5v1 We are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
5v2 We boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
6v2 We have died to sin because Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross.
6v5 We are united with Christ in his death and resurrection.
6v23 The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
7v24-25 Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord
8v1 There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
8v14-16 All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
In today’s reading Paul now rises to dizzy heights as he brings his thoughts to a conclusion. ‘The apostle rises to sublime heights unequalled anywhere in the New Testament ….. The burden of the apostle’s climax is the unchangeable, irresistible, invincible purpose of God, and by this purpose and in it, the eternal security of the people of God.’ (John Stott – Men made New).
Paul asks five questions to which there are no answers, he asks the questions as though a challenge to anyone and everyone to deny the truth which they contain. But they can’t – nobody can eternally harm the saved people of God. The questions are unanswerable because they are based on the firm promise of the truth of God.
Question 1. v31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’ If Paul had simply asked ‘who is against us’ there could have been a multiplicity of answers. The answer could be those people who are our enemies, the devil, death, etc. But Paul said ‘If God is for us, who can be against us.’ In v29-30 we are reminded that ‘Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son …. And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.’ (GNB). In the light of these truths, who can be against us? It reminds me of a song I used to sing in my Sunday School days:
On the victory side
On the victory side
No fear can daunt me
No fear can haunt me
On the victory side.
On the victory side
On the victory side
With Christ within
The fight we’ll win
On the victory side.
Question 2. v32 ‘He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?’ If Paul had simply asked ‘will God give us everything’ we could have questioned it. But God has already given the greatest possible gift, the gift of Jesus his Son. Knowing this, will God not also give other things as he thinks needful for us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6v33, Jesus said ‘But strive first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And his righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you
Hallelujah! Hallelu, hallelujah!
Ask and it shall be given unto you,
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto you,
Hallelujah! Hallelu, hallelujah!
Question 3. v33 ‘Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.’ ‘Who will bring any charge against us?’ The question sounds as though it is given in a law court, and if that question stood by itself, there could be many answers. Many people might accuse us, our own consciences might accuse us, the devil might accuse us. But God through his Son Jesus has declared us ‘not guilty’ because it is God who justifies.
We read in Isaiah 50v8-9 that the Lord’s Servant says ‘Does anyone dare to bring charges against me? Let us go to court together! Let him bring his accusation! The Sovereign Lord himself defends me –who, then, can prove me guilty? All my accusers will disappear; they will vanish like moth-eaten cloth.
Question 4. v34 ‘Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.’ Paul began Chapter 8 by saying ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’. It is as though he is emphasising this ‘no condemnation’ point by coming back to it and asking us to think about it. There are perhaps lots of people who might try to condemn us, perhaps our critics or those with whom we disagree, perhaps in our low moments we condemn ourselves. But hold on! Paul emphasises there is no condemnation because Jesus died for us, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God our Father where he intercedes for us. I mentioned in my sermon on Romans 8v1-11 Charles Wesley’s hymn ‘And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood’, and it’s last verse
No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine! Alive in him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Amazing love how can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Question 5. v35 ‘Who will separate us from the love of Christ?’ It has been a bit like climbing a staircase and this fifth question Paul asks when he is on the top step. He looks round for a possible answer and thinks of all the possibilities, are there any people or any circumstances that can separate us from the love of Christ? ‘Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or family, or nakedness, or peril, or sword.’ These are all real things, real suffering brings real pain. But no, none can separate us from the love of Christ. v37 ‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’
And so Paul’s great conclusion in v38-39 ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Just think of that! Just think of the great love that God has for each one of us. Neither the crisis of death, nor the disasters of life, nor the heavenly rulers and powers, nor time, nor space – nothing can separate us from God’s love. The love of God seen in the death of his only Son Jesus on the cross; the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Stuart Townend & Keith Getty’s hymn puts it well
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand;
Till he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!
Paul’s conclusion in v38-39 reminds me of the story of the great 19th century Baptist leader Charles Spurgeon who once saw a weathervane on which were written the words ‘God is love’. And he commented to his friend that he didn’t think they were appropriate words to put on so changeable a thing as a weathervane, something which changed direction as the wind blew. He was met with the answer that he had misinterpreted the meaning. What it really meant Wesley’s friend said is ‘God is love, whichever way the wind blows’.
What is God like? We believe that the answer is ‘God is love’, but more than that ‘God is love whichever way the wind blows.’