Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Dates for your diary
Wed 27th July 2022
10.30am, Ven Bede
(4th Wednesday of every month)
Thurs 28th July 2022
4-7pm, St James
Something Wonderful exhibition opening
Thurs 28th July 2022
7.30pm, St Margaret's
Mon 1st - Fri 5th Aug 2022
10am - 2pm, St Margaret's
Sat 6th Aug 2022
7pm, St John's
Sun 7th Aug 2022
11am, St James
Holiday Club celebration service (no other services in the team this week)
Services this week
9.45 at St Margaret's - Holy Communion
11am at St James - Hub Service (Patronal festival)
10.30am at Ven Bede - Holy Communion
10.30am at St John's - Holy Communion
Holiday club - Mon 1 to Fri 5 August
at St Margaret Scotswood, NE15 6AR
This August you are invited to our free holiday club at St Margaret's! For ages 5-10 there will be crafts, games, activities, awesome stories from the Bible and more.
Monday 1st to Friday 5th August
10am to 2pm
Sunday 11am celebration service followed by a BBQ (at St James)
Places will be on a first come first served basis.
'Something Wonderful' art exhibition
Opening Thurs 28 Jul, 4-7pm
at St James, NE15 6RS
Come to the opening event of the exhibition of all the artists at the St James art club! They have made some incredible work over the past months.
The exhibition will be viewable after the event for several weeks.
Fellowship and dance night at St John's
7pm, Sat 6th Aug
A night of fellowship and fun. Homemade pies, cakes, buffet, raffle, line dancing, barn dance, and more!
whose holy apostle Saint James,
leaving his father and all that he had,
was obedient to the calling of your Son Jesus Christ
and followed him even to death:
help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world,
to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay;
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.
Acts 11.27 – 12.2 27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; 30this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. 12About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.
Matthew 20.20–28 20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’ 24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’
By Revd Chris
I wonder, where do you place yourself in God's kingdom?
Would you put yourself near the top? Maybe not sat on the left or right of Jesus but near enough - important enough to exert power and influence in the church and world. Or do you think of yourself nearer the edge of things, happy to be there but not part of the ‘in-crowd’? Or do you think of yourself as being on the outside, not worthy of inclusion, ignored and possibly even disliking those on the inside?
James is the patron saint of our church in Benwell, he is remembered especially for he and his brother John asking for the top position. Or rather, their mum asks for them, to sit either side of Christ in his kingdom. Maybe she was just an ambitious mother, pushing for the best for her children. The rest of the disciples are understandably not so happy about this. But they aren’t beyond reproach either, the disciples are annoyed, not because of the arrogance of James and John, but because they are arrogant enough to think they deserve the top position themselves.
Jesus responds to all the disciples, by saying this is not how it works in God’s kingdom, that they have it wrong if they think it should be like what we witness in the world, he says ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you’
God’s kingdom is different. Whoever wishes to be great must be a servant, whoever wishes to be first must be a slave. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. This is the topsy-turvy, upside-down, kingdom of God. To be the greatest we must be the least. This kingdom is modelled on Christ, the most powerful of all who made himself powerlessness, who gave himself over to suffering and death.
Jesus upends our ideas of power and glory, his kingdom is not what you were thinking, the aim is not dominance over others. How easily a race to the top becomes a race to the bottom – the arrogance and the ego that comes with positions of power shows the worst of humanity. Just like we are witnessing in yet another leadership contest to be our next prime minister, a warped and human idea of power based on putting ourselves ahead and grabbing from others.
When we relinquish desire for our own power, we gain an even greater power - the true power of God. The power of God is shown in the ultimate act of love and service of Jesus giving himself over to die. The cross was intended to be an image of powerlessness and humiliation, a symbol of the dominance and tyranny of an empire, and the worthlessness of the people. Yet it has become the greatest image of power, the cross has become Jesus’ throne, the way to life and eternal freedom. In that moment he broke all expectations of worldly power, and everything that we put value in is made worthless.
I wonder, when Jesus says to James and John that the seats at his left and right are “for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father”, who does he mean if it’s not James and John? Maybe it’s Moses and Elijah who appear with Jesus at the transfiguration. Or maybe, if the cross becomes Jesus’ throne of glory, I have always wondered whether it is the two criminals crucified either side of Jesus.
Or maybe the places are reserved for two people we don’t even know. If the first shall be last and the last shall be first, then maybe it is for the ones who suffered the most in the history of this world, the ones unknown and lonely, the ones who knew nothing but lack. The ones who died with no one to mourn them. The ones who lived with no one to love or even like them. The bullied, the rejected, the unpopular, the unlikeable, the awkward.
This should give us hope, that God has not forgotten those who are suffering, the unloved are the most precious to God, but we must remember that is no excuse for us to wait until the afterlife to do something.
We live in a world where many of us often feel powerless. I am sure many of us have felt the frustration of feeling unheard, misunderstood, desperately hoping someone would notice and care when we’re suffering, someone feed us when we’re hungry, be with us when we’re lonely, change the system when it is killing us.
The kingdom of God, the upended, topsy-turvy kingdom, begins with us in the here and now. It is already growing in this world, it is growing with us, with you. Albeit imperfectly, we are called to live the life of this kingdom now. That means we are called to serve, called to put others before ourselves, to seek not our own power, but to love others now.
Crucially, this means treating all with dignity and love, and definitely does not mean being patronising to others. We must get our own egos out of the way, we do not serve or help for reward or recognition. In Jesus’ kingdom none of us should be saying “they only won because I let them”. In Jesus’ kingdom, all should be treated with dignity and worth, because in us is God’s own image, in us is God’s spirit.
If we are to learn anything in the church that bears the name ‘James’ then it is this, put away our own limited desires, and to love others first. For the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
If you would like to add someone to the prayer list please email email@example.com
The name will stay on the list for 1 month unless requested to be long-term.
Prayers for others:
Stan and Sonja
Moe and Mary
The Riches Family
Samantha Campbell and Graham Neave married yesterday at the Ven Bede.
Rest in Peace
Post Communion prayer
Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.