Trinity 3 - Church at Home

28th June 2020

Weekly notices and a service for worship at home

(Scroll down for this week's service)

Francisco de Zurbaran, Cup of Water and a Rose on a Silver Plate, Oil on Canvas, c.1630; National Gallery London

NOTICES

Churches to reopen for services!

Services are to be permitted in churches again next month. We are still waiting for official guidelines from the Government and Church of England on what this will look like.

Depending on the advice, we will send another notice during the week to let you know whether we will re-start our services on 5th or 12th July. Either way, Church at Home services will still continue for a while, so please stay at home if you are shielding or unwell.

Church buildings open this week:

St James', Wednesday, 10am - 1pm

Venerable Bede, Sunday, 11am - 1pm

Two of our buildings are open for peace and private prayer. On Sunday we will have the sacrament (consecrated bread) on the altar as a symbol of Jesus' real presence with us and sacrifice for us.

If you visit, please remember to:

  • Sanitise your hands when you enter and leave (sanitiser is provided).

  • Stay 2 metres apart from others (whether moving around the church or sitting down)

  • Use the allocated entrance and exit (follow the signage!)

Do not visit if you are vulnerable (over 70 or with a pre-existing condition), and if you feel unwell, stay at home and contact us if you need help.

Do you need some help?

If you have to self-isolate you don’t have to feel alone!

The council have set up a helpline for those who need help the pandemic. Call CityLife line: 0191 277 8000

You can also contact the clergy or our volunteers and we will find the best way to support you:

Contact us here

Giving

One of the unforeseen pressures of the pandemic is that many of our members give money physically and this is no longer possible. To keep our work going and our buildings open we are asking that, if you can, please give by standing order. Regular donations help us to have a better estimate of our income and ensure we can keep our activities running.

  • You can set this up with your bank online using the details here.

  • Or download and print a standing order form here and send it to your bank.

  • Or if you wish to be posted a form please just call us or email church@benwellscotswood.com

New ramp and toilets for the Venerable Bede

Read all about it here.

In light of current circumstances, we are ensuring faculties are posted publicly online as well as physically outside the church. You can read the faculty notice on that page and and objections may be submitted via email to dac@newcastle.anglican.org


Children's resources

We will include resources each week from Roots to help you reflect on Bible readings with children at home. You can download and print the resources here.

The Church of England have also begun developing resources to help families develop and grow in faith at home (and not just for lockdown use!) You can find the videos here.


Submit prayer requests online!

You can now submit your prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregations will pray for you each week. You can do this here.




WORSHIP

Second Sunday after Trinity

Reflection by The Revd David Kirkwood

Service led by Abigail Harris


We will pray at 10am on Sunday, join us at home at if you can.


Listen here:

The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge on the presence of God.



Intro music


Vals Poético by Enrique Granados.



Opening prayer


In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Confession

God the Father forgives us in Christ and heals us by the Holy Spirit.

Let us therefore put away all anger and bitterness, all slander and malice,

and confess our sins to God our redeemer.


We have not always worshipped God, our creator.

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)

We have not always followed Christ, our Saviour.

Christ, have mercy. (Christ, have mercy.)

We have not always trusted in the Spirit, our guide.

Lord, have mercy. (Lord, have mercy.)


May the Father forgive us

by the death of his Son

and strengthen us

to live in the power of the Spirit

all our days. Amen.



Collect


Almighty God,

you have broken the tyranny of sin

and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts

whereby we call you Father:

give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,

that we and all creation may be brought

to the glorious liberty of the children of God;

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.



Reading


A reading from Paul's letter to the Romans.


Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.


What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.


When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 6.12–23)

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God



Gospel


Alleluia, alleluia.

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Alleluia.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

Glory to you, O Lord.


‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple - truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’

(Matthew 10.40–42)

This is the Gospel of the Lord

Praise to you, O Christ!

Reflection

by The Revd David Kirkwood


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

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.


Today’s gospel is a part of the teaching Jesus gives to his twelve disciples as he sends them out. In my Jerusalem Bible the whole section is given the heading.

‘The Instruction of the Apostles’


It begins with Jesus summoning the twelve, then comes the instructions. Today’s short reading is from the very end of the teaching and provides a conclusion. If you have been following our Church at Home services, you will have already heard the instructions Jesus gave as they provided the gospel readings for our last two Sundays.


Much of that instruction was by way of serious warnings and exacting demands. The disciples must face beatings, persecutions, insults, divisions. They will be sheep among wolves, families will be fractured, and sacrifices must be made, but they are not to be afraid and they must be prepared to give up everything for Jesus.

‘anyone who find his life will lose it anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.’


Both Chris and Abigail helped us to apply these hard words to the situations we face today. I didn’t plan it, but I am quite relieved that I get to talk about something different today. The end of the instruction, which we just heard, is no longer about rejection and demand but about welcome and reward.


‘whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.…and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple - truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.’


Welcome has become a central theme in thinking about the life of the church. Last year representatives of all our churches attended a course on ‘Leading your church into Growth’. How welcoming churches are was seen to be vitally important in determining whether they are likely to grow. Following on from that we have been trying to think through how we ‘do welcome’ in each of our buildings and the challenges that brings. St James, with the help of our Iranian members, have started to re-order the main worship space and are looking at what further improvements are needed, the Venerable Bede are about to embark on work installing disabled friendly access and new toilet facilities, St John’s have just upgraded their floor to enable their popular dancing and social events to continue, St Margaret’s have welcomed Search as new users of the office space there and we are again exploring how the building might be used to offer children’s activities for the summer. Clearly as we plan to restart public worship, we will need to think carefully about what welcome means in a Covid secure environment, and what it will mean for those who are still shielding or unsure about leaving home. As is clear from the examples given this is not just a question for Sundays. A great part of the work of the Benwell & Scotswood Team has been, with our various partners, in offering forms of welcome outside of Sunday Church. All of this will need to be looked at afresh in the light of the ’new normal.’ So, if you are able, do watch the website to see the latest developments. At present St James is open for private prayer on Wednesdays form 10.00am until 1.00pm, and the Venerable Bede from 11.00am until 1.00pm on Sundays this is all done in a safe way. From next week public worship will be allowed and we are waiting to see what the rules will be. We are hoping to have Sunday services, at St James to begin with, from next Sunday or possibly the week after. We will continue with ‘Church at Home’ too at least for the time being.


But coming back to welcome and the gospel reading, it is interesting that when Jesus talks about welcome here, he is not talking about the welcome the disciples will offer to others, but rather about the welcome they will receive.

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me


This really is in stark contrast to the previous warnings. Many will not welcome the disciples, they will resist them, and their message, even to the point of threats and violence. But not all. There will be those who offer welcome, even if it is in the smallest things, even just a cup of water.


Can you think of a time when you have been welcomed? Can you think of a time when you steeled yourself for the worst, as the disciples had been encouraged to do, but where you were expecting sour things you found instead the sweetness of welcome?

This weekend is Peter-tide traditionally the season for ordinations. Thirty five years ago I was ordained as a deacon in Lincoln Cathedral. This year is the first year since then when there will be no Peter-tide ordinations. Those awaiting ordination will have to wait at least a little longer, do keep them in your prayers. One of the things that happens just before ordination is a candidates’ retreat which includes the Bishop’s Charge. Just like the disciples being sent out by Jesus the bishop takes the opportunity to impart words of wisdom and advice (to his infant clergy). I’d like to be able to say the words given then were engraved in my heart and mind but to be honest, not so, although I do have a photograph the Bishop sent me from the retreat, it shows a tiny baby just two months old looking as if he is about to be dropped on the floor while his father who is holding him is engaged with a glass of sherry. On the back the bishop has written ‘My father never bothered about me and my mother just looked out of the window’


I don’t remember the exact words of the charge, but I do remember something of how it felt. We were being steeled for service, rightly so, and what a daunting and nerve-wracking prospect it all was. What I don’t recall is being told how we would find that sweetness of welcome and yet over 35 years in every step of ministry that has been my experience.


Wonderful welcomes from wonderful people in all kinds of surprising and unexpected ways. No amount of strategy or planning can prepare you for the grandmother from a baptism who rings up wanting to speak to you and you wonder what on earth the problem might be, only to be asked would it be alright for her to start attending church. Not only did she then regularly welcome us into her home with true Afro Caribbean hospitality but through her welcome brought many friends and family to find their place in the church. It was good to be welcomed back to that parish last November and see how things were progressing not least the glorious renovation of the building which had always been a nightmare and extremely unwelcoming!


Being prepared not to see ourselves just as the ones who will do the welcoming but also the ones who will find welcome is extremely important. Why is that? Because it reminds us that this welcome is not something that is in our gift, something that belongs to us to give or withhold as we please. The welcome we offer, and which is offered to us is nothing less than the welcome that Christ offers to all.

Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28


The welcomes we receive are some of the richest rewards of ministry and as we heard Jesus talks about welcome and reward together. Those who welcome will be rewarded even if the welcome is in the smallest things. The idea of a rewards was also found in our first reading. Going back to my Jerusalem Bible, which incidentally is the one I was presented with by the Bishop, when I was made deacon, I find today’s reading is headed


The reward of sin and the reward of holiness


Now however you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves to God, and you get a reward leading to your sanctification and ending in eternal life. For the wage paid by sin is death, the present given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. JB Rom 6:22-23


It’s important not to misunderstand this we can imagine a reward poster, it doesn’t matter if its ‘Billy the Kid wanted dead or alive $10,000 reward’ or ‘Tiddles left home Tuesday £5 reward offered’. If we are able to provide the service required, we will be given the reward $10,000 or £5. The service and the reward have no intrinsic connection we might be delighted to see justice done or sad to see a man going to the gallows it makes no difference we have $10,000. Whether we like Tiddles (or his owner) or dislike them intensely makes no odds we still get the £5.


That is not the case with the rewards Paul is describing. Sin he says pays a wage the wages (opsonia) of sin is death but, unlike the rewards on the poster, here there is an intimate connection between sin and death. To sin is to turn away from God, the source of life and goodness and so the reward (karpos) is not an external thing but intrinsic to the act of sinning.


And so it is with its opposite now ‘no longer a slave to sin but to God’ the direction of travel has been reversed and so, as Paul says, ‘going the way of righteousness and holiness’, you are moving towards the source of life and goodness God Himself, and so the end (telos) is no longer death but, life eternal. Again, the reward is intrinsic to the action.


And now, not wanting to be misunderstood, after using the words for wages and rewards Paul significantly switches to another word.

For the wage paid by sin is death, the present given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The word translated ‘present’ here, and also as ‘gift’ or ‘free gift’, is in Greek charisma. Its root is charis from which we get our word grace. Not a wage but a free undeserved gift. The ‘reward’ we receive is so much more than a reward. Reward might sound like we get what we deserve but for Paul it is more about getting what we don’t deserve and yet are made worthy of. From beginning to end our return to God is Grace.


Which brings us back to welcome what is God’s Grace if it is not the welcome he offers to all, the righteous and the unrighteous, what is that welcome if it is not Grace. The closer we look we see how welcome and reward are bound up together. The reward is not separate from the welcome. The reward is the welcome the welcome is the reward. Reward is not something external either to us or to God but is found in that new relationship as we discover ourselves loved and welcomed and through that welcome come to know and love the One who welcomes.


God doesn’t put up a wanted poster for Tiddles or Billy the Kid but he does want to be able to welcome each one of us and He offers a reward, but the reward is not £5 or $10,000 but simply to be welcomed home. Not ‘a glass of water’ but ‘a spring welling up to eternal life’. Jn 4:14


For the wage paid by sin is death, the present given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


May we find in Christ our welcome and our reward and may we be ready both to receive from and share that with others.

Amen


Prayer intentions


Response:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


The World:

  • Those in government, and those faced with hard decisions.

  • Medical staff and health professionals.

  • An end to inequality and encouragement for those working for social justice.

  • Protection and sustainable use of the world's resources.

The Church:

  • For all awaiting ordination

  • Those called to lead and guide at a difficult time.

  • Bishop Christine Hardman, Bishop Mark Tanner, our area dean Christine, our rector David.

  • For safety and peace as churches reopen their doors.

  • For continued efforts to reach people in new ways.

  • All who feel cut off from God, prayer, or the sacramental life of the Church.

The sick and suffering:

  • All victims of violence, racism and discrimination.

  • All who are still cut off from loved ones.

  • All who have asked for our prayers.

  • All affected by Covid19

The Departed:

  • All victims of Covid-19


Lord's Prayer


As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn

Listen to the music here:

As the deer pants for the water

So my soul longs after you

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship you


Chorus:

you alone are my strengh, my shield

To you alone may my spirit yield

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship you


I want you more than gold or silver

Only you can satisfy

You alone are the real joy giver

And the apple of my eye

Chorus


You are my friend and you are my brother

Even though you are king

I love you more than any other

So much more than anything.

Chorus



Conclusion


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

And the love of God

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Be with us all, evermore. Amen



Outro music


Scherzo-Valse by Cécile Chaminade.