Worship & news from Benwell & Scotswood
Cildo Meireles, Babel, 2001
Radios, lighting and sound; Tate Modern, London
What's in this week
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This week's service:
The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.
Farsi / خطبه
در هنگام خطبه روز یکشنبه هدفون های خود را بگذارید و به این ترجمه گوش دهید.
یا در خانه گوش دهید.
Translation of the sermon and readings for our Farsi speakers.
Every Sunday 10.30am Venerable Bede, West Road, NE4 8AP
We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team.
Join us by watching the service live online this Sunday.
And follow the service booklet here >
You can submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.
New videos for worship with children are uploaded every week by the Diocese of Newcastle.
Your donations ensure our work keeps going and our buildings stay open.
Communal worship to continue
at the Venerable Bede on Sundays at 10.30am.
Communal worship is still permitted, but we will continue to assess the situation very carefully and meet for public worship only if we feel it is safe and if we can comply with guidance.
If you are particularly vulnerable or anxious then please do stay at home. Let us know if you are struggling in any way and we will do all we can to help.
If you do come to church please be extra vigilant and do not approach people from other households at all, especially before and after the service. And remember the social distancing guidelines.
POSTPONED - Confirmation & Baptism service, 17th Jan
Because of the logistics of the baptism and confirmation service, both ourselves and the Bishop decided it would be best to postpone this service until later in the year. We will still have a normal Sunday service. And we do hope to have a smaller baptism service at Candlemas (Sunday 31st January) depending on the situation nearer the time.
Reflection by The Revd Dominic Coad
Service led by The Revd David Kirkwood
Interlude by César Franck.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The grace of God has dawned upon the world through our Saviour Jesus Christ, who sacrificed himself for us to purify a people as his own.
Let us confess our sins.
God be gracious to us and bless us,
and make your face shine upon us:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
May your ways be known on the earth,
your saving power among the nations:
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
You, Lord, have made known your salvation,
and reveal your justice in the sight of the nations:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
May the Father of all mercies
cleanse us from our sins,
and restore us in his image
to the praise and glory of his name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
our beginning and our end:
bring us with the whole creation
to your glory, hidden through past ages
and made known
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
A reading from the first book of Samuel
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’
(1 Samuel 3,1-10)
This is the word of the Lord.
(Thanks be to God)
Christ was revealed in flesh, proclaimed among the nations
and believed in throughout the world.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
(Glory to you O Lord)
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
(Praise to you, O Christ)
By The Revd David Kirkwood
Have you ever watched sheepdogs at work amazing isn’t it? The way the shepherd seems to have a bond with the dog. It does just what he wants it to do. Sometimes he will call, sometimes he will whistle, and the dog responds instantly; get up, stop, go right, go left, walk, come here –whatever the signal there is instant obedience and so the sheep come trotting in to where they are meant to be. Keep that picture in mind as we think about our readings, especially the reading from the Gospel.
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Jesus calling Philip. It is like other stories about calling the disciples in the gospel, Peter James, John, Jesus comes along there is one clear call ‘Follow me’ and up they get and follow.
Just like the sheepdog hearing the shepherd’s whistle the response is immediate. These stories are not just to tell us about something that happened once to other people but as an example for us. This is a pattern for discipleship, the way it should be. The Lord calls, the disciples follow. No ifs, buts, or maybes, ‘Here I am Lord’.
So, there we are that is how it should be. But is it like that? It is not always that simple is it? Why not? Firstly, we might say it is not so simple because we are not in the privileged position of those first disciples. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. That is from our first reading, but we might say it is the same today. Where is that one clear call? We do not hear Jesus calling us as he did Philip, or even as the Lord called Samuel. If we could hear like that of course it would be different, but it’s all so confusing, so difficult, sometimes we are not sure a call is there at all. I wonder; maybe because they were the first to be called the call was especially loud especially clear but, even if that is so, God’s work of calling clearly did not end with the twelve disciples. I’m sure God continues to call people to him. One of the jobs I have had the privilege to do is to be a ‘Vocations Advisor’, listening to people and trying to work out what God is calling them to do. This means listening to their stories of how they became aware of God’s call. It has been very moving and inspiring to hear - the word of the Lord may not be so rare after all. If things are not always as simple in life as in the gospel story the reason may not be a lack of calling but a problem with hearing.
A loss of hearing is commonplace as we get older. You may have noticed. ‘Pardon what was that?’ But as hearing loss takes place, we don’t always realise it’s us, ‘people don’t speak so clearly as they used to’, ‘everybody mumbles’. Well, it may be so. I wonder if where God’s call is concerned, we can’t all be a little hearing impaired.
How might we overcome that? I have, in some churches that will remain nameless, had the experience of people sitting right at the back of church, fair enough might need a quick getaway and shows they are good Anglicans, but then being the first to grumble about not hearing?! Maybe that is very Anglican too, but I did wonder if there might be a simple answer -come a bit closer. I’m probably being unfair I know we have had problems with our microphones and internet, and I guess all those listening at home are right next to the screen with the volume on full blast.
It is worth recalling Philip’s words to Nathanael who as we heard was very unimpressed despite Phillip’s enthusiasm ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ ‘Huh, can anything good come out of Nazareth.’ (Perhaps Nathanael should be the patron saint for Anglicans). But Phillip perseveres ‘Come and see’ or for us maybe, ‘come and hear, come and listen’. There is no point moaning there is no word to us or that is not clear if we do not position ourselves to be able to hear.
What might coming nearer mean - Time to listen, setting aside time to pray, to read the bible, to join in services as often as we can, even if it is online. You get the point.
All these are good things to do but it might be still there is something else we need too. There might be barriers to hearing we need to remove What barriers might there be?
First perhaps we do not hear because we do not expect to hear. We do not expect to hear, not because we think God does not call anyone, but because we have the wrong idea about the kind of person God would call. Maybe he does call some people, special people, a call for ministers or clever people but He would not call people like me. It is not true. God calls ordinary people, Samuel the child, not Eli the priest, fishermen, tax collectors, sinners all sorts. Ordinary people but this is a call that transforms them and makes them extraordinary. Baptism is for each of us a sign of our individual calling.
Secondly, we may not hear because we have the wrong idea about the kind of experience through which God would call us. It is not necessarily the dramatic ‘road to Damascus’ conversion or ‘burning bush’ in which God calls, although it may be. Don’t neglect the everyday, the ordinary, the sacrament of the present moment, every moment a new opportunity, this, the moment, he has given us with its ordinariness its difficulties its trials. Don’t forget either that God’s call may come to us through others, including people who can be a bit annoying, people like Philip.
Finally, a more serious reason we don’t hear is because we won’t hear. We don’t want to hear, so we stop up our ears. We are uncomfortable about drawing near, maybe we feel a bit like Adam and Eve who ‘when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day hid themselves from the presence of God amongst the trees of the garden.’ Maybe we carry a sense of guilt or shame. If so, we can take heart from the Lord’s conversation with Nathanael ‘Where did you come to know me?’ ‘I saw you under the fig-tree’. Jesus sees us, knows us, already knows us better than we know ourselves, guile and no guile, good and bad, we may feel we have something to hide, but why hide what is already seen? He comes to forgive and to heal what is hidden. But maybe we won’t hear not because we are afraid of what we have done or been but because we are afraid of what we might be asked to do or to become. He will have some duty we don’t want. We are busy enough already, He is a hard task master, we are happy enough being our own boss. All very human but just stop and think what strange thoughts these are. God is the one who loves us, wills our happiness, gladly gives up all things for us, and we are grudging ‘can anything good come from Nazareth’. Now it is true that listening can’t guarantee a quiet life or problem free existence, but can any good come by evading His call? Will we find greater happiness without Him who is the source of all happiness, truth and light? ‘Come unto me and I will give you rest’ He says, it maybe he does have a task for us, but he also promises ‘my yoke is easy my burden is light’. We are called into light and light can be uncomfortable if we are used to the dark, but would we rather stay in the dark? The call is to be the people God wants us to be and so to be truly ourselves and if we miss it what can we give? But if we listen there is joy and peace.
So let’s come back to the sheepdog, it must concentrate, tune its’ ears to hear the one significant voice among many voices, learn to know the voice and be ready to obey not just a one off either but fresh every day. Are we able to hear that voice, to ‘come and see’, to spend time really listening until with Philip and Nathanael we are able to rejoice, as we say for ourselves, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth’. ‘Rabbi you are the Son of God You are the King of Israel’. Amen
Prayers of intercession
Jesus calls us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Washed clean by the waters of baptism, let us pray that we may live the life to which he has called us.
Unstop our ears that we may hear! Break down our reluctance that we might draw near! Open our eyes that we might see! In the ordinary moments of our lives When thoughts, distractions And busyness might keep us apart Open our hearts to let you in.
We pray for all preparing for Baptism and Confirmation For our Bishops Christine and Mark and all called to lead and guide the Church Lord of truth, hear our prayer.
When you stand before us As angel or stranger And whisper softly to our soul Open our hearts in obedience to your will …We pray for the homeless for refugees and asylum seekers, for those who feel trapped by the lockdown, for victims of violence. Those working to bring comfort and fairness, for the work of Cornerstone, North Benwell Youth Project, West End Food bank & Pendower Good Neighbour Project. Lord of truth, hear our prayer.
Lord Jesus, fulfilment of the promises of old, give hope to all who suffer or are ignored …All suffering with Covid 19 and those caring for them.
the Riches family
Lord of truth, hear our prayer.
Lord Jesus, bringer of hope, share with all the faithful the riches of eternal life …
Lord of truth, hear our prayer.
Accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son
our Saviour Jesus Christ
Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us:
who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
I, The Lord Of Sea And Sky, I Have Heard My People Cry. All Who Dwell In Dark And Sin, My Hand Will Save. I Who Made The Stars Of Night, I Will Make Their Darkness Bright. Who Will Bear My Light To Them? Whom Shall I Send?
Here I Am Lord, Is It I, Lord? I Have Heard You Calling In The Night. I Will Go Lord, If You Lead Me. I Will Hold Your People In My Heart.
I, The Lord Of Snow And Rain, I Have Borne My People’s Pain. I Have Wept For Love Of Them, They Turn Away. I Will Break Their Hearts Of Stone, Give Them Hearts For Love Alone. I Will Speak My Word To Them Whom Shall I Send?
I, The Lord Of Wind And Flame I Will Tend The Poor And Lame. I Will Set A Feast For Them, My Hand Will Save Finest Bread I Will Provide, Till Their Hearts Be Satisfied. I Will Give My Life To Them, Whom Shall I Send?
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore. Amen.
Clowns by Dmitry Kabalevsky.