Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team
Dates for your diary
Wed 14th Sept
7.30pm, St John's
Sun 25th Sept
11am, St James
(celebration service, no other services in the team)
Services this week
Sunday 11th Sept
9.45 at St Margaret's - Holy Communion
11am at St James - Hub Service
Thurs 15th Sept
11am at St John's - Holy Communion
Sunday 18th Sept
9.45 at St John's - Holy Communion
11am at St James - Hub Service
4pm at St Margaret's - service on the eve of the funeral of HM The Queen
The death of HM The Queen
Queen Elizabeth II, our longest-serving monarch and Supreme Governor of the Church of England has died. Her funeral is on Monday 19th September, until then we will be in a period of national mourning. Please click here for full information.
Services of worship:
We will particularly mark the Queen's passing at the following times:
11am Thursday 15th at St John's - service of Holy Communion.
4pm Sunday 18th at St Margaret's - service of commemoration on the eve of the funeral.
(Sunday morning services will continue as normal, with added prayers for the Queen, her family, and the new Sovereign, King Charles III).
Church opening times:
Mon - Thurs, 10am - 4pm at St James.
Mon and Thurs, 10am - 1pm at Venerable Bede.
Books of condolence, candles, and flowers:
While the churches are open it will be possible to sign a book of condolence, light a candle, and leave floral tributes. Flowers may be moved to St James for the Sunday following the funeral.
Harvest Festival, 11am, Sun 25th Sept
at St James, NE15 6RS
Our Harvest Festival is when we celebrate and give thanks for God's abundance on earth and pray for the healing and protection of our world. We will have lunch together after the service.
Donations - please bring donations of non-perishable food (tins, packets, and dry goods) which will be donated to a local charity.
Flowers - would you like to help with the flower displays for Harvest? Please speak with Elspeth. We would also welcome cash donations to help pay for the flowers.
who called your Church to bear witness
that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself:
help us to proclaim the good news of your love,
that all who hear it may be drawn to you;
through him who was lifted up on the cross,
and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
1 Timothy 1.12–17 12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Luke 15.1–10 Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ 3 So he told them this parable: 4‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. 8 ‘Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’
By Revd David
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Todays gospel was all about losing things, the lost sheep, the lost coin and if we continued also another story the lost or prodigal son.
I was intending to ask what the experience of losing things feels, like losing a passport just before we need to go on a journey, losing a large sum of money as my daughter in law did, putting it in a safe place only to find it had gone out with the rubbish. We will all have similar stories.
Then yesterday came news of the Queen’s death and the realisation that many people would share a sense of loss that goes beyond the loss we feel for material things. Losing a person we have loved is unlike the loss of a material object, we give it a special name bereavement and we recognise it as an especially intense and difficult experience. Although as far as I know none of us will have known her personally the Queen has been there throughout the past seventy years and her loss may well feel like a bereavement and for her family and friends of course that is exactly what it is. Like all bereavement it calls us to sympathy a word that mean to suffer with and it can remind us of the losses we have experienced, not in money, passports, coins, or sheep but those we have loved.
So going back to the stories can they offer us anything to help us when we experience the deep loss that is bereavement. Maybe no, not if we are looking for detailed guidance in dealing with those emotions or processes that psychology draws attention to as being normal in grief; shock, numbness, denial, anger, depression, later hopefully acceptance and readjustment.
Jesus does not tell the stories for that purpose but if we look deeper at why he does tell them it may help us to put all our losses into a different perspective.
Why does he tell them? Tax collectors and sinners are listening to Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes don’t like it, ‘look he welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
The Pharisees make assumptions that they, as righteous people, are the ones God cares about most. Jesus wants them to see things differently. The shepherd leaves the 99 sheep to seek the one who is lost.
God cares for everyone not a certain kind of person, good people, important people, clever people but everyone as individuals, each person, every person is precious and of unique and of irreplaceable value in God’s sight. Not only so but because that is the case God sets to work for each one, to reach out and to rescue, to show his love, to put his hands out, to lift up to place upon his shoulders, and to bring home to himself.
So each person is precious and irreplaceable and that is the first reason Jesus tells the stories to show the value God puts on individuals, but isn’t that exactly why bereavement is so hard. In bereavement loss is not abstract but personal, the precious person is taken from us.
These parables are called the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son but that is only half the story.
How do they end ‘rejoice with me I have found my sheep that was lost.’ ‘rejoice with me I have found the coin that I had lost’, ‘This brother of yours was dead and has come to life, he was lost and has been found’.
Not the lost sheep, lost coin, lost son but the found sheep, found coin, found son.
Not sadness, grief and mourning but joy and celebration,
all these stories end with a party.
Because individuals are precious not only to each other but to God, because we are made in his image and although that image is spoiled by sin, Christ comes to restore and make new, there is hope, a hope that stretches into Eternity.
Christ the Good Shepherd is the one who to bring back the flock lays down his life for the sheep. This is the reality that is at the centre of our worship today all our preaching, all our Christian life, the very existence of the church and ourselves as members of the church.
These stories are about finding things about finding the joy that comes when what we thought was lost, is restored to us.
In our Eucharist we glimpse something of that joy. As we remember Queen Elizabeth and her family let us pray that joy will be for them and all who are bereaved.
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.
HM the Queen Elizabeth II
thanksgiving for her life and faith.
comfort for those who mourn, especially her family.
King Charles III and his reign.
Prayers for others:
Moe and Mary
The Riches Family
Post Communion prayer
God our creator,
you feed your children with the true manna,
the living bread from heaven:
let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage
until we come to that place
where hunger and thirst are no more;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.