Newsletter - Trinity 5

17/7/22

Your weekly update from the Benwell & Scotswood Team

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Dates for your diary


Sunday 17th July 2022

4pm, St Margaret's

Patronal festival


Thurs 28th July 2022

7.30pm, St Margaret's

PCC meeting


Mon 1st - Fri 5th Aug 2022

10am - 2pm, St Margaret's

Holiday Club

 

Services this week


Sunday 17th

9.45 at St John's - Holy Communion

11am at St James - Hub Service (eucharist)

4pm at St Margaret's - Patronal festival (eucharist)


For a full list of upcoming services please see here >

 

News

St Margaret's Patronal Festival - Sun 17 Jul, 4pm

at St Margaret Scotswood, NE15 6AR

Next Sunday we celebrate St Margaret's day with a eucharist at St Margaret's church.


Come along and celebrate our community in Scotswood!





 

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.

Book a place here >

 

'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.








 

Worship Texts

Slideshow


The Collect


Almighty and everlasting God,

by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church

is governed and sanctified:

hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,

that in their vocation and ministry

they may serve you in holiness and truth

to the glory of your name;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Reading

Genesis 18.1–10a 18The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ 6And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ 7Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 9 They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ 10Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.

 

Gospel

Luke 10.38–42 38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 41But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

 

Sermon

By Revd Anne

When it comes to relationships, have you ever wondered, - what are women for?

When I was a child, English society was still quite clear what women were for. They were not expected to voice opinions on any significant issues, especially politics, sex or religion.


When I grew up I was expected to get married, look after the house and my husband, bear children and offer hospitality to whoever my husband brought home. Paid employment was the responsibility of men, not women. Attitudes here have changed hugely in my life-time.


There are three women in our stories today – Mary and Martha, two friends of Jesus; and Sarah, the wife of Abraham. We know that Sarah had no children and that she was too old to conceive. This was a cause for deep shame in those days.

We don’t know if Martha or Mary were married or had children – the Bible does not record this. They lived with their brother, which was unusual, as in those days most women were married as teenagers.


In the story of Sarah and Abraham three strangers call in and share a meal with them. Sarah prepares and serves the meal.


In the story of Martha and Mary, Jesus calls in and shares a meal with them. Martha prepares and serves the meal. Mary sits with Jesus and talks religion.


Both stories tell us something about social attitudes to women – that they were expected to prepare meals, not engage in serious issues. But, more importantly, both stories also tell us about the nature of God – which is why we keep on telling them. God, it seems, is present in ways we don’t always recognise.


The story of Martha and Mary always raises our feminine temperature: most women sitting here today would identify with Martha – she’s the one who gets things done – who ensures there is food to eat and a table to sit round, being a perfect hostess, while Mary is neglecting her responsibilities to lounge at the guest’s feet idolising every word he utters.


Yet, when Martha got cross and reprimanded her sister – it was probably less to do with her feeling over-worked and under-valued, and more to do with her concern for Mary’s reputation… she was trying to remind both Jesus and Mary that they were breaking the social rules of the day – discussions about religion and faith were for men, not women.

This story tells us two important things about Jesus, and about God…


Jesus teaches that spiritual nourishment is even more important than a good meal. Mary had chosen to feed on the Word of God and Jesus was not going to deprive her of this spiritual food.


Also, Jesus affirmed women in the role usually reserved for men – to sit at the feet of the master teacher. In this story, when Mary and Jesus broke the social rules, Jesus shows us that in God’s eyes, women and men are equally important and deserving of education. This was a radical idea in Jesus’ day – and it still is today in many communities across the world.


So what about the story of the 3 visitors to Abraham and Sarah?

Who were they? Why did they appear?


The story begins: ‘The Lord appeared to Abraham.’ ‘He looked up and saw three men.’


Andre Rublev, a famous icon maker in the 15th century, portrays the three visitors in his famous icon ‘The Trinity’. Neither Sarah nor Abraham are featured – only the visitors – whose presence tells us something about God.


Icons are not meant to be seen as reproductions of reality. God cannot be seen other than through the life of Jesus Christ. As St Paul tells us – ‘Christ is the image of the invisible God.’


Icons are prayerful, symbolic reflections of how God is revealed to us. Each element of the painting has a significant message.


Rublev portrays the three visitors as angels.

One of the angels told Abraham that Sarah would bear a son. This was astounding news - that her ‘disgrace’ at being childless would soon be over. When Sarah first heard the news she laughed! How ridiculous! She was too old. Some months later, when a boy was born, they called him Isaac, which means ‘laughter’.


The icon uses the three visitors to tell us about the nature of God.


We experience the One Almighty God in three ways:

· as the transcendent, invisible and immortal Creator God – beyond our reach

· as the incarnate God - God as revealed in Jesus Christ - a real man in history: as St Paul reminds us: ‘Christ is the image of the invisible God‘

· as the holy spirit of God - invisible yet tangible in the ways in which we are stirred by spiritual power.


Rublev uses the three visitors to reflect to us the three persons of the Holy Trinity. They have identical faces. They each wear blue robes – a sign of holiness. They each hold a staff of authority pointing to both heaven and earth. They each hold a hand in blessing.

The angel on the left – reflecting God the Creator – wears a translucent gold robe covering the blue: the holiness of God is veiled from sight. He looks across to both the other angels; and blesses both of them for action.


The central angel, reflecting Christ, looks reverently to the Father. In him the (blue) holiness of God is revealed, overlaying a robe the colour of earth and a golden stole of service. He blesses the sacrificial cup of wine. Behind him is the tree of life – a sign of the wood of the cross through which new life is created.


The angel on the right – reflecting the Holy Spirit - also looks reverently across to the Father. His blue robe is mostly veiled in translucent green – the colour of life. His staff and blessing hand face outward towards the world, ready for action.


There is more to be seen – they form a circle – a symbol of eternity – but the circle is open – in welcome to all who would come.


In this group there is no hierarchy – all are equal in status, bonded together in love and respectful of each other. The three clearly have different gifts and roles but are one in purpose, one in power, one in love, one in very being – the ultimate team.


Here we see both the power and the purpose of God-style ‘relationship’. It is open, not closed…. A dynamic relationship in which gifts are shared and all are equal. The three ‘visitors’ exemplify what it means to be a team.


Jesus has no time for those cultural norms which applaud some and diminish others. In his eyes, everyone has worth and is loved by God – young and old, men and women, rich or poor, empowered or oppressed…


God sat at table with Abraham and Sarah and blessed them with the liberating news of a child to be.


God sat at table with Martha and Mary and blessed them with the liberating news of equality.


God sits at table with us today and blesses us with the liberating news of forgiveness and acceptance.


God, it seems, values each of us equally – and calls us to do the same. These two stories tell that.


We humans are made in the image of God – through relationship, in relationship and for relationship… Relationship with God, relationship with one another, and relationship with creation.


So if you ever do wonder what women are for, or indeed what men are for, maybe today’s stories show us. We are called to reflect the nature of God through all our relationships… respectful and caring of one another, and of the created world around us. And be mindful when you meet a stranger – for they may be an angel in disguise.

So let us pray, as members of our team here in Benwell & Scotswood: May God bless our relationships and our best intentions and bring them to life in Christ.

 

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:

  • 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

Rest in Peace

  • Linda Carr

  • Paul Cassidy

 

Post Communion prayer

Grant, O Lord, we beseech you,

that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered

by your governance,

that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly quietness;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.