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Newsletter - Passion Sunday

17/3/24

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week

Sun 17 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 21 March

10.30am Holy communion at Ven Bede


 

Dates for your Diary


Sun 18, 25 February and Sun 3, 10, 17, 24 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


Holy Week and Easter


You are invited to journey with us through Holy Week, when we recall the story of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. The greatest story of hope in the face of suffering.


Palm Sunday

24th March, 11am

At Venerable Bede


Maundy Thursday

28th March, 7.30pm

At St Margaret's Scostswood


Good Friday

29th March

1pm Stations of the Cross  /  2pm Liturgy of Good Friday

at St James’ Benwell


The Easter Vigil

Sat 30th March, 7.30pm

at St John’s Benwell Village



 

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 24th 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.


 

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 17th March 2024

Passion Sunday

Purple


Collect

Most merciful God,

who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ

delivered and saved the world:

grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross

we may triumph in the power of his victory;

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

Gracious Father,

you gave up your Son

out of love for the world:

lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,

that we may know eternal peace

through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,

Jesus Christ our Lord.



Readings


Jeremiah 31.31–34


31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


This is the word of the Lord.

All:  Thanks be to God.

 


Hebrews 5.5–10

 

 5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

  ‘You are my Son,

   today I have begotten you’;

6as he says also in another place,

  ‘You are a priest for ever,

   according to the order of Melchizedek.’

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; 9and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

 

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 12.20–33


20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ 22Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

27 ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ 29The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ 30Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. 31Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ 33He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

 

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

All:  Praise to you, O Christ.



Post Communion

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us

that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters

we do also for you:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as you were the servant of all,

and gave up your life and died for us,

but are alive and reign, now and for ever.



Intercessions


Prayers for others:

  • Paulette Thompson

  • Gordon White

  • John Peterson

  • 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

  • Baby Reign

  • Ellen Robson

  • Vicky Pearce


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 Lydia Padfield, Ordinand on placement

 

May I speak in the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

In the exploring faith course a couple of Sundays ago we looked at some depictions of Jesus. I’ve put a couple on the screen. Over the centuries and across different places and cultures, artists have portrayed Jesus in a wide variety of ways. In some, Jesus is meek and mild; in some Jesus is indignant at injustice; in some Jesus is suffering; in some Jesus is glorious and powerful. You might like to think about how you relate to Jesus most. When you think of Jesus, do you picture him as mighty or as meek? Do you imagine him as authoritative or as angry? Do you see him as powerful or as persecuted?

 

Our Gospel reading for today starts with a simple request: ‘We wish to see Jesus.’ We don’t know who asked it – other than that they were Greeks, or Gentiles – and we don’t know what had drawn them to Jesus. But we do know that they wanted to see Jesus. And we know that his answer to their request is shocking – for Jesus’ disciples then and for us today.

 

Jesus’ answer to their request is not an easy read. He tells his disciples that his hour has come – that his death is immediate. He tells them that his soul is troubled. And he tells them that he is committed to the death he came into the world for, putting aside his status, his respectability, and even his life. He will be lifted high on the cross and draw all people to himself. This Sunday marks the start of a period of time known as Passiontide: we’re getting closer and looking ahead to the cruel and startling events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and, Holy Saturday, as well as the remarkable events of Easter Sunday.

 

And Jesus’ answer is also not an easy read because it has implications for us. It says something about what it means for us to see Jesus, and what it means to follow him.

 

What Jesus tells his disciples – and us – is that to see him means seeing him in his suffering as well as his glory. He uses a metaphor here of a grain of wheat. On its own it’s just that – a grain. But if it is laid in the earth, then a whole plant will grow from it. Jesus’ death, in other words, is necessary: it is only through Jesus dying that we can have eternal life. If we want to see Jesus, we have to confront, and be confronted by, the Jesus whose soul is troubled, the Jesus who suffers on our behalf.

 

And what Jesus tells his disciples – and us – is that following him is not always easy. ‘Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.’ This idea can be easily misinterpreted. If those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life, does that mean we should try to hate our lives? Should we make ourselves as miserable and uncomfortable as possible? Should we seek out suffering and pain so we can follow the life of Jesus more closely?

 

But I don’t think Jesus is saying here that we should try to make ourselves miserable. After all, the story of Good Friday is that Jesus suffers for us, on our behalf. And when we make suffering our goal, we end up justifying all sorts of terrible things. We end up saying that it’ll all be alright in the end and you should tolerate whatever is happening now. But that isn’t how Jesus responds to people in need throughout his life. From his example, we should be angry about injustice, we should help the people around us in the way we can, we should care about ourselves, and the people and things in this world. It isn’t enough to say it’ll get better in the next one so we can let things go now, leaving unjust structures in place and those around us in difficulty.

 

So I don’t think Jesus is saying we should make ourselves miserable. I think what he’s saying is that life is hard, and being a Christian doesn’t make the challenges of this world just disappear. We aren’t exempted from pain or from suffering or from mourning. God is our comfort and our help, our sustenance and our support. God is with us in all the suffering. But the suffering is still real. It isn’t a sign that we’re doing anything wrong if life is hard.

 

And I think Jesus also recognises here is that being a Christian can bring its own difficulties. This is not the case for everyone, but it is the case for some of us. There may be times when following Jesus leads to misunderstanding and hostility or even hatred and danger; there may be choices to be made between what the world wants what faith demands. This doesn’t mean that Jesus wants anyone to suffer; it means that Jesus sees suffering and takes suffering seriously. And it means that suffering is not the end of the story – eternal life with Christ is.

 

I don’t know how you most easily picture Jesus – whether you see him as mighty or meek; authoritative or angry; powerful or as persecuted. But I do know that, as the letter to the Hebrews tells us, he is ‘the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him’. My prayer for this Passiontide is that we might be like those two unnamed Gentiles. We might wish to see Jesus, and we might follow him closely.

 

Amen.

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