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Newsletter - Lent 2

25/2/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 25 Feb

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist)

4pm - St Margaret's Evening Prayer


Thurs 28 Feb

10.30am Holy communion at Ven Bede


 

Dates for your Diary


Sun 18, 25 February and Sun 3, 10, 17 March

3pm - Exploring Faith group at St Margaret's

4pm - Evening Prayer at St Margaret's

Sun 24 March

11am - Palm Sunday team service at Ven Bede

Sun 14 April

11am - Confirmation team service at Ven Bede


 

News


Exploring faith


A group for exploring faith and spirituality. A time to ask questions, discuss, and learn about the beliefs of Christianity. 


Who is it for?

Exploring faith is for anyone who is simply curious, anyone who wants to refresh their faith, and anyone who might want to take the next step of baptism or confirmation (and those who are just unsure!). All abilities and backgrounds are welcome.


There will be two groups running at the same time. One group for adults (16+) and one aimed at preparing young people for confirmation (10-16).


What will happen?

Revd David and Revd Chris (our clergy) and other lay leaders will guide us in listening to and reading different resources and discussing what they mean. At the end of the session there will be a short service of Evening prayer at 4pm, which you are welcome to join in or observe.


When?

Beginning Sunday 18th Feb 

at 3pm. 

Continues every Sunday 

until 17th March.


Where?

St Margaret’s Scotswood 

NE15 6AR


Contact & RSVP

RSVP if you can (it helps us to prepare!) but you’re still welcome to just turn up on the day.


If you have any other questions feel free to get in contact:

0191 273 5356


 

Interested in being baptised or confirmed?


We will be baptising adults at the Easter vigil service this year on 30th March.


Bishop Helen-Ann will then be coming to do confirmations a few weeks later on 14th April.


If you might be interested, join us for the Exploring Faith group (details above!) Or if you are a Farsi speaker, join us on Tuesdays at 4.30pm at St James, NE15 6RS.


If you'd like to talk about this with someone beforehand then just ask Revd David or Revd Chris who will be delighted to talk about this and answer your questions.


 

Coffee, cake and craft - group for all women, Wed 28 Feb


On the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Venerable Bede Church, 10am - 11am.


Come and join us, spend time with other women, share a coffee and cake and try a Bible related craft. Upcoming dates:


  • Wednesday 28 February 10.00-11.00

  • Wednesday 27 March 10.00-11.00

  • Wednesday 24 April 10.00-11.00


For more info email benwellMU@gmail.com or speak with Leahan Garratt or one of the clergy.


 

St John's Coffee morning, Sat 2 March


Join us on 2nd March for our monthly coffee morning!

10am - 12pm


Why not pop in for a cuppa and a home made cake or scone?

Have a browse of our racks of new and nearly new clothes and grab a bargain.


You will get a warm welcome!

Dogs are welcome (and encouraged!)


 

Embrace - Gaza appeal


The people of Gaza are living through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Israel’s response has led to indiscriminate civilian suffering, with residents forced to move from place to place in search of safety. Food and medical supplies have all but run out; water, electricity, and fuel have been cut off.

The people of Gaza were already on their knees with 80% of residents reliant on humanitarian aid to survive. Please, can you make a donation into help in their hour of need?

You can donate online, by clicking below, or by calling 01494 897950. Your gift will support Embrace’s Christian partners in the immediate aftermath of this humanitarian crisis and to help to heal the wounds it’s caused across Israel – Palestine.





 

Sunday Worship



Sunday 25th February 2024

2nd Sunday of Lent

Purple


Collect

Almighty God,

you show to those who are in error the light of your truth,

that they may return to the way of righteousness:

grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion,

that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession,

and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;

through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


or

Almighty God,

by the prayer and discipline of Lent

may we enter into the mystery of Christ’s sufferings,

and by following in his Way

come to share in his glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Readings


Genesis 17.1–7, 15–16

 

17When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ 3Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.


15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’

 

This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



Romans 4.13–end

 

13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.


16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become ‘the father of many nations’, according to what was said, ‘So numerous shall your descendants be.’ 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22Therefore his faith ‘was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ 23Now the words, ‘it was reckoned to him’, were written not for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

 

This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



Gospel Reading


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.


Mark 8.31–end


31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’


34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.


Post Communion

Almighty God,

you see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves:

keep us both outwardly in our bodies,

and inwardly in our souls;

that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body,

and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Cecil Harlock

  • Maria Hawthorn

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • Ellis Nelson

  • Pauline Nelson

  • Michelle Wilson

  • Peter Wilson

  • Alan Taylor

  • Maureen Taylor

  • Irene Foskett

  • Lorraine Atkinson

  • Pat Law

  • Moe and Mary

  • Hilary Dixon

  • Lynn Mosby

  • David Veitch


Rest in peace

  • Ellen Robson

  • Caroline McInnes

  • William (Bill) Taylor


Other

  • The ongoing situation in Russia, Ukraine, Gaza and all other places at war.


If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email church@benwellscotswood.com

The name will stay on the list for 1 month unless requested to be long-term.



Sermon

by Revd David


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen

 

If you are a Christian, it is hard to avoid the cross -quite literally, you come to church and there it is in our buildings, which are sometimes themselves cross shaped, on the altar, the walls, often in the windows,  everywhere. Just look around. This week it is even more in evidence as we have our stations of cross up for Lent. In our service, the priest  may make the sign of the cross when proclaiming the forgiveness of sins and again at end of service blessing in God’s name. If you were baptised the sign of cross  would have been made in oil or water on your head.

 

It is so much part of things that we can take it for granted and forget what a strange thing it is, that this has  becomes the defining Christian symbol. We forget its beginning was a cause not of celebration, but scandal. The earliest representation of the Christian  cross is not in a church at all, but  a crude graffiti scratched on a wall in Rome, ‘Alexamenos worships his god’ and a cross with a man with donkey’s head - a mock at the incomprehensible stupidity of the worshippers of a crucified god.

 

The scandal has always been there, St Paul in his first letter to Christians in Corinth, uses the word , ‘we preach Christ crucified,  to Jews skandalon, to the Greeks folly.’

But even before St Paul the cross is a scandal, a cause of offence.

 

Here it is in today’s gospel. Why is Jesus rebuking Peter? –‘get behind me Satan’ -Because Peter will not accept the cross. Peter has just made his great discovery, when Jesus asks, ‘who do you say I am?’ -it’s Peter who gets it, ‘you are the Christ’.  When Jesus begins to explain what that will mean, suffering, rejection, death -the cross- , then Peter makes plain he doesn’t get it at all- ‘no this will never be’. 

 

‘Get behind me Satan’ , strong words! There are times when Jesus is the gentlest of teachers- not here Peter, Satan? What is this all about? Has Peter this time, been so stupid so wicked? It is  not even clear that Peter’s speaks from selfishness. He is not trying to save himself -though that will come later -it seems a genuine desire to spare Jesus –‘this must not happen to you.’ Later, when Peter will betray Jesus, Jesus shows far more understanding, even finding excuses ‘the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.’

 

No, it’s as if Jesus is not even looking at Peter but looking through him, and what he sees is the Tempter. Maybe the strength of Jesus rejection comes not from the strength of anger with Peter, but from the strength of the temptation he feels . ‘Be the messiah, but without the cross, no scandal needed.’ The  temptation to turn stones to bread is often understood as a temptation to become messiah without the need to suffer.

 

 If this scene with Peter points back to meeting the tempter in the wilderness it also points forward to another temptation, the agony in the  Garden of Gethsemane when before his Passion Jesus faces the reality of his death. Here he rebuked Peter for following ‘human things not divine things’ but in the garden, he will show what human things and divine things really mean. He shows his full participation in human things, a real humanity, which rejoices in living, wants to live and pleads, ‘Let this cup pass me by‘. He shows too, total immersion in the things of God, the Divinity that prays ‘not  my will but  your will’ -a readiness to die, embracing fully the scandal of the cross.

 

To understand what follows we must recall the depth of this struggle, the reality of this conflict. After rebuking Peter, Jesus widens the circle talking to everyone - inviting all in  and telling  them straight.

If you want to follow me deny yourself, take up your cross and follow.  No ‘ifs buts or maybes’  Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospels will save it.

 

I began by saying if you are a Christian, it is hard to avoid the cross but that’s not right. If  you are a Christian, it is  impossible to avoid the cross. Jesus says if you want to follow me,  you must take it up. It doesn’t mean there won’t be times we would rather avoid it, of course there will be, we are human too. It doesn’t mean there  won’t be times when we feel the shock and the scandal of it. Maybe it is not so bad when we do,  if we don’t it may mean we have become too comfortable with it , like the signs in our worship that we have almost forgotten are there.

 

But it doesn’t mean we have to go out of our way to make a cross for ourselves and the heavier and more miserable the better, or that we need to take up the cross for the whole world.  No, the only cross we must take up is the one he gives us, and because he gives it we know he will also give with it the strength to bear it. Remember too that that strength can come through others. Jesus was not ashamed to receive help from Simon of Cyrene, St Paul says we should bear one another’s burdens.

 

Making the sign of cross ourselves is something we can do for example at communion. One teaching you may have heard when we do is that we  ‘cross  out, self’ It is a good teaching, as long as we understand it right  - not the true self the real me, the me that God doesn’t want to cross out but cherishes and  loves deeply wanting only to be loved in return,  but the false self the Old Adam (or Eve) a false self we must lose to find that true self.

 

The cross is a scandal- an Instrument of torture designed to break a person completely mentally, physically, spiritually to crush, to destroy. When Jesus took up the cross it failed completely. Instead, the instrument of torture became the Instrument of salvation, not to break, but to remake, to destroy the old Adam in us that we might find who we truly are creating us anew  in the image of Christ . Amen

 

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