Newsletter - Trinity 11

28/8/22

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Services this week


Sunday 28th Aug

9.45 at St Margaret's - Holy Communion

11am at St James - Hub Service


Thurs 1st Sept

11 at St John's - Holy Communion


For a full list of upcoming services please see here >

 

News

Junior church is on this Sunday!

During the Hub Service (11am at St James) children are invited to the hall for activities and worship especially for them!

There are songs, crafts, prayers, and bible stories. We go back into the church to join grown-ups for communion.

(This will be run by DBS checked volunteers and parents are welcome to stay with younger children).

 

Worship Texts

Slideshow

The Collect


O God, you declare your almighty power

most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:

mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,

that we, running the way of your commandments,

may receive your gracious promises,

and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;

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.

Amen.

 

Reading

Hebrews 13.1–8,15,16 13Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.4Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ 6So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’ 7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. 15Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

 

Gospel

Luke 14.1,7–14 14On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. 7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honour, he told them a parable. 8‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honour, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, “Give this person your place”, and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will be honoured in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ 12 He said also to the one who had invited him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’

 

Sermon

By Revd David


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


Have you ever had to plan a wedding. If so you know the difficulties. Not the service so much as the reception. You have to make sure no one is missed off the list, then who will sit where? You have to keep separate auntie Nita and cousin Fred who are not talking to each other and for the special top-table make sure that the right people are on it. There are unwritten rules to keep and even if you succeed somebody is bound to end up getting upset. A lot of the unwritten rules are about status, who is the most important what is the pecking order, meals can be minefields and not just weddings.


It was the same in Jesus’ day. If some seats are seen as more honourable and others less honourable there is a natural human tendency to want to be in most honourable places, the best seats the most respected. Jesus sees this playing out in front of his eyes

‘he noticed how they picked the places of honour.’

So he tells a story a ‘what if’ scenario. Imagine you go to a wedding, grab a really important seat, but then more important guests come in and you are forced to get up and take a lower place, how humiliating. On the other hand if you take a lower place to start and the host then asks you to come up higher mmm how gratifying. Simple advice, if you are going to a wedding take the lower seat.


Of course, Jesus real interest is not providing a ‘How to behave at a wedding’ handbook. He uses the example to illuminate a larger truth. And just in case we haven’t got the message he spells it out,

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

We are used to the idea of laws of nature, every action has an equal but opposite reaction, the laws of motion. Jesus points to a ‘law of motion’ for God’s kingdom, for the spiritual life;-Those who lift themselves up will be put down, those who take a lower place, who humble themselves, will be lifted up. There are no ifs, buts, or maybes, that is just the way it is -If we puff ourselves up with pride, even if we attend to religious duties, we will be brought down. If we humble ourselves, we will be lifted up.


It may remind you of another parable of Jesus. Two men were praying one a Pharisee who prays, ‘I thank you that I am not like other people, I do this and this…’ and the other a tax collector beating his breast and praying ‘Lord have mercy on me a sinner’ The tax collector went home put right with God.

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Why should there be this iron law?

Exalting ourselves means moving into an orbit of complete self-centredness ‘he prayed thus with himself’ it says of the Pharisee. It is a world revolving round us and us alone and so unable to appreciate anything else, we lose touch with reality, especially the reality of God. But reality cannot always be kept at bay and so the humbling must come.

On the other hand, when we humble ourselves, we move into a different orbit, de-centring ourselves allows God to be at the centre, and to see other people as centres of His care too. Here we connect with reality, the truth about things and that lifts us up.


It’s not easy, we need real humility, not a fake humility that says ‘Lord be merciful to me a sinner’ while thinking I’m getting quite good at this praying business. Not a self hatred where we beat ourselves up and feel bad about ourselves but still miss the bigger picture of God’s love. Humility is a lesson for life but also that takes a life time to learn. Many centuries ago. St Benedict compared this to Jacob’s ladder.

if we wish to reach the greatest height of humility, and speedily to arrive at that heavenly exaltation to which ascent is made in the present life by humility, then, mounting by our actions, we must erect the ladder which appeared to Jacob in his dream, by means of which angels were shown to him ascending and descending.. Without a doubt, we understand this ascending and descending to be nothing else but that we descend by pride and ascend by humility. The erected ladder, however, is our life in the present world, which, if the heart is humble, is by the Lord lifted up to heaven.


The image of Jacob’s ladder is also found at the beginning of St Johns gospel, Nathaniel and the other disciples are told they will see angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. The implication is clear, Jesus Himself is the Ladder linking earth and heaven. ‘The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ Christian faith is rooted in this act of supreme humility, not ours, but His, the same humility that takes Him to the Cross, before His lifting up to the Risen Life.

Jesus does not simply tell us about a law of spiritual life and then ask us to live it, in His life of perfect humility He lives it and through grace and the sacraments of His Church opens the way for us to live it with Him. In our special meal today the most honoured guest is here but in the lowest place, as one who serves. Seats of honour are prepared, He comes to whisper to each one of us ‘friend come up higher,’ are we ready to hear?


AMEN

 

Intercessions

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.


Prayers for others:

  • William Struthers

  • Elizabeth Taylor

  • Honar

  • Edith Hutchinson

  • Stan and Sonja

  • Moe and Mary

  • Alison Campbell

  • John Taylor

  • Irene Foskett

  • John Nicholson

  • Alan Robson

  • Michelle Wilson

  • Liz Holliman

  • Joan Finley

  • The Riches Family

  • George Snowden

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Herbert Agbeko

Baptisms:

  • Carter Rainey

 

Post Communion prayer

Lord of all mercy,

we your faithful people have celebrated that one true sacrifice

which takes away our sins and brings pardon and peace:

by our communion

keep us firm on the foundation of the gospel

and preserve us from all sin;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.