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Newsletter - Lent 3

3/3/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 3 March

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

9.45am - St Margaret's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist)

4pm - St Margaret's Evening Prayer


Thurs 7 March

10.30am Holy communion at Ven Bede


Sun 10 March - Mothering Sunday

9.30am - St John's Holy Communion

11am - Ven Bede hub service (Parish eucharist) led by Mother's Union

4pm - St Margaret's Evening Prayer


 

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.


 

Ellen Robson's Funeral


The funeral of our much loved sister, Ellen, will be at the West Road Crematorium on Monday 11th March at 1.30pm.


This will be followed by a reception at the Westfield social club, West Road, NE4 9PR. All are welcome.


The family have requested no flowers, but a donation to be made to Marie Curie instead. You can donate here: https://funeral-notices.co.uk/notice/robson/5176171


 

Mothering Sunday


Next Sunday's hub service will be a special occasion for Mothering Sunday as the Mother's Union will be organising the worship for us.


Join us at 11am at the Venerable Bede, NE4 8AP.






 

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 3rd March 2024

3rd Sunday of Lent

Purple


Collect

Almighty God,

whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain,

and entered not into glory before he was crucified:

mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross,

may find it none other than the way of life and peace;

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.


or

Eternal God,

give us insight

to discern your will for us,

to give up what harms us,

and to seek the perfection we are promised

in Jesus Christ our Lord.



Readings


Exodus 20.1–17

20Then God spoke all these words:

2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9For six days you shall labour and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

12 Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

13 You shall not murder.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

 

This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



1 Corinthians 1.18–25

18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

  ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,

   and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.



Gospel Reading


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

All:  Glory to you, O Lord.


John 2.13–22

13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ 17His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ 18The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.



Post Communion

Merciful Lord,

grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil,

and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God;

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


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 Chris


In the gospel today, we encounter an image of Jesus that can still shock us. Jesus is furious, he enters the temple in Jerusalem, whip in hand, to drive out those who extort money from the worshippers.


In order to understand why Jesus was so riled, it will help us to understand what was going on in the Temple.

*

Jesus arrives at the temple at the time of the Passover, when Jews were flocking to Jerusalem to give thanks for God’s saving power, the God rescued their ancestors from Egypt. The Temple was the only place of sacrifice for the Jews. Sacrifice meant the offering to God of that which God created, whether in the form of wheat or grapes, doves or lambs, depending on the purpose of the sacrifice.

*

Animals were brought or bought there, and the value of offerings might depend on an individual’s circumstances. When Mary and Joseph presented Christ in the temple, for example, they made a low-value offering. Sheep and oxen are for rich people to buy.

A temple tax was also paid by all Israelites to upkeep the temple. But they could not pay using a coin showing the image of a Roman ruler, hence why moneychangers were needed to change the currency of the Roman empire into the appropriate shekels.

*

The temple was the ultimate symbol of God’s presence amongst his people. God was not inaccessible and unknown but in a physical dwelling place at the heart of the nation. The offerings at the temple were a sign of God’s ongoing relationship with his people, that God was involved in their lives: God created, gave them life, saved his people throughout history, and continued to care for and protect them. In turn his people would offer back to God what is his own, in thanks for goodness, to give thanks for the birth of children, for good harvests, and in atonement for when things went wrong, to make things right when no one else could.

*

The temple and the practice of sacrifice was about God reaching out to his people and the people of God being able to access him. However, the animal sellers and moneylenders were preventing this access to the poorest, forcing them to pay the highest prices and extorting money from the most vulnerable at the worst rates. In this most important of places some were building a barrier, standing in the way of the poorest coming to God.

*

This is why Jesus is so furious. He is angry about the unnecessary barriers, but also that the generosity of God was being turned into the exploitation of the poor. This was the antithesis of everything Jesus was there to do, he is the incarnate God, there to bring presence of God to the world, to expand the access of God’s grace to all people, to transform the pain and suffering of the world. In his ministry, time and time again, he places himself amongst the poorest, those who are vulnerable and suffering, those who are shunned and excluded.

*

In Jesus the relationship that God had with his people through the temple is not replaced but expanded. The sacred space is no longer a physical place, but the presence of Jesus in humanity. Jesus doesn’t try to regulate who has access to his holiness. Rather, Jesus says, “Come unto me, all you that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” Jesus pours himself out for the sins of the whole world. Everyone is invited into his holy presence: saints and sinners, Jews and Gentiles, every gender, the whole groaning creation. This is an awesome vision that transforms how we know and experience the holy presence of God.

*

This story reminds us that there when it comes to matters of justice, anger is justified. There are things in this world that we should be angry about. The worship of God is not only about an experience of peace, but the love of God in action. At our baptisms we commit to being part of the same mission, it is our job to care for the poorest and weakest and to improve life for them. It is not our job to set boundaries on who can access God. Because access to God is not a transaction where in return for coming to church you get help, but it is about the love of God reaching out into the world in generosity and transforming holiness.

*

It is our job to give ourselves to God wherever he is. And where God has placed himself is amongst the poorest and weakest and those who are suffering. This is where we are to dedicate our gifts, our money, our time, this is where we are to go to meet God. Those of us can give must give to continue reaching out in love and generosity. There may be those who think we are foolish and why should we care for those who do not necessarily care for us, but “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength”.


Amen.

 

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