05 July 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Trinity

This is one of my favourite paintings, hung on our kitchen wall. It’s by my brother, Simon Bull, and is one of those paintings that invites me in, get a cuppa, come sit in the cosiness and mess of this well loved and well worn sofa. In the mess of this world take time to sit with Jesus.
WELCOME

This weekend sees the tenth anniversary of my ordination at Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford. It feels like I have reached a milestone in my ministry and reflecting over those years it seems so much has happened, nothing I would ever have imagined! It has been and still is an incredible journey, a journey of joys, blessings, heartache, burdens, and soul searching and adjustments. I only have to look at the photos of us all at the cathedral and I am reminded that life is never what you expect!

This week we reached the milestone of 100 days of lockdown, and this weekend we have some new long-awaited freedoms – although life is still far from the kind of normality we took for granted just a few months ago.

And for each of us the past 100 or so days have been very different. I have heard some people say how wonderful it has been – life has been calm and peaceful, perhaps they have been furloughed and had time to do all those jobs round the house, practice yoga every day, learn a new skill, enjoy long walks, spend time with family members returned to the nest…

For some it has been a really lonely time, with no-one to talk to, no-one to eat with, no physical contact or passing conversations, having to be proactive about every human interaction.

For some it has been an anxious time, people whose age or health has made the virus a life-threatening enemy, with danger round every corner.

For some it has been a real stretch and time of stress, single parents trying to work from home and home school children without any physical support, families with small homes and no outdoor space where children can safely burn off some energy.

For all of us, the uncertainty, the change and the separation from loved ones have been taking their toll. But our experiences have been very different. I’ve heard it said – We’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat.

Many of us have seen incredible kindness all around us during these last 100 days. A lot of people have experienced wonderful community spirit, with neighbours going the extra mile to help each other out.

But sometimes it’s also seemed like the necessity of hunkering down at home, keeping our contact with others limited, being wary of people for our own safety, has made some of us less able to appreciate the perspective of people whose experiences might be very different.

When faced with a multitude of decisions about our safety and the safety of our loved ones, based on epidemiological concepts we’d never even thought about before this year, it’s very easy to judge others for making decisions differently to the way we would have.

I wonder how many of us have thought… “I bet they’re not all from the same household!” or “there are way more than 6 people in that group”, “what do they think they’re doing on that beach?!”

It can sometimes feel like whatever people do, someone is ready to criticise, a bit like the words of Jesus in today’s gospel reminded me a bit of this – For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!”

How many of us have reacted to things that have happened much more strongly than we usually would, or have been much more critical of the people around us?

I know I’ve done that far more than I’d like to admit over these last weeks. And I know that’s largely because, with the pressures of the last few months, I haven’t been at my best.

I wonder if that resonates with your experience?

So the words of Paul this morning really strike a chord – I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.

Sound familiar to you too?

But the strong message from both our old testament and gospel readings today is, our God is kind. Gentle, humble and kind.

Today we hear some of the most precious words from the Gospels in times of trouble, ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Are you weary? Are you carrying a heavy burden? It’s been a long hundred days. We don’t know the burdens each other have been carrying – what responsibilities, what anxieties, what losses.

But God knows. And Jesus welcomes us with kindness, with gentleness. This invitation is simple and unconditional – come, and I will give you rest. It often helps to acknowledge the burdens we have to carry, as sometimes they pile up without us really noticing until we discover how weighed down we feel.

I’d encourage you to prayerfully ponder this week, what are you carrying? And if you want to take this further, you might like to use your imagination prayerfully, and imagine yourself sitting down next to Jesus, perhaps under a tree or on a nice comfy sofa, and imagine yourself putting those things down while you rest with him (hence the picture!).

You may need to pick them up again, but for a while, lay them down.

And if at some point in the next little while you find yourself about to judge someone harshly or criticise them, try first imagining them carrying a burden, and see if that might help explain their decisions or behaviours.

And maybe think about how you could offer them the kindness and gentleness that Jesus offers you.

Many of my friends who I was ordained with, have had different experiences of ministry over the last ten years.

People will have had different experiences of lockdown over the last couple of months.

Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. We’re all in the same storm, but we’re all in different boats. But whatever our boat is like, in Jesus we find a safe harbour from the storm. Whatever our burdens, he will give us rest.

Blessings for the week ahead.
Revd Rosie Welcome in the name of Christ. God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you.
and also with you.
 
Faithful one, whose word is life.
Come with saving power
to free our praise,
inspire our prayer
and shape our lives
for the kingdom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

COLLECT
O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

READINGS

Zechariah 9.9-12
 
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
   Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
   triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
   on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
   and the warhorse from Jerusalem;
and the battle-bow shall be cut off,
   and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
   and from the River to the ends of the earth.
 
11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
   I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
   today I declare that I will restore to you double.
 
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
 
Psalm 145.8-15
 
8  The Lord is gracious and merciful, •
   long-suffering and of great goodness.
9  The Lord is loving to everyone •
   and his mercy is over all his creatures.
10  All your works praise you, O Lord, •
   and your faithful servants bless you.
11  They tell of the glory of your kingdom •
   and speak of your mighty power,
12  To make known to all peoples your mighty acts •
   and the glorious splendour of your kingdom.
13  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; •
   your dominion endures throughout all ages.
14  The Lord is sure in all his words •
   and faithful in all his deeds.
15  The Lord upholds all those who fall •
   and lifts up all those who are bowed down.
 
Romans 7.15-25a
 
15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
 
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
 
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
 
This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
 
Gospel Reading
 
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.
 
Matthew 11.16-19, 25-end
 
16 ‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
17 “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
   we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
 
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; 19 the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
 
25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
 
28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
 
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

PRAYERS (adapted from Costa Blanca Chaplaincy)

Holy God, and Lord of the Dance, we raise our prayers to you in the power of the Spirit which unites us with Christ Jesus trusting that you will hear our prayers and use them to accomplish your will for the world and for the church.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Faithful God, we pray for all people who seek to follow your way in their lives. Let your church speak your word of truth with confidence and in unity so that those who are searching and listening will be able to see and hear clearly your message of love and peace.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Creator God, we pray for people and nations whose troubles, brought about by the global pandemic, drown out your music of harmony and where the violent heat of anger seeks to destroy your word of peace.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Father God, we pray for the people around us in our neighbourhoods and our places of work. Give us sensitivity and insight into their needs and vulnerabilities so that we may learn truly to love our neighbours as ourselves.  Help us to be responsible and sensible in all our interaction with those around us so that we do not increase the chance of infecting, or being infected by, those we meet.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Gracious God, we pray for people we know who are ill, anxious or bereaved, and for those that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens. We pray that you will lead them, and us, in peace towards healing and wholeness of mind and spirit.
We pray especially for Blake, Sam, Reuben, Margaret, David, Don, Karl, Hugh, Sarah, Elsie, and Lesley.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Merciful God, many people die by violence, war, and famine each day. Show your mercy to those who suffer so unjustly for these sins against your love, and gather them to the eternal kingdom of peace.
We pray especially for Myrtle Kemp, and those whose anniversaries fall at this time.
Lord in your mercy: hear our prayer

Loving God, we offer ourselves to you in faith and confidence. Show us as we go out into the world how we can best prepare ourselves to be part of your response to our prayers. Fill us with the Spirit of life which was in Christ Jesus, your Son and our Saviour.

Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen Blessing

Go forth into the world in peace,
be of good courage,
hold fast that which is good,
render to no one evil for evil,
strengthen the fainthearted,
support the weak, help the afflicted,
honour everyone,
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you always.
Amen

THIS EVENING
BCP evening prayer will continue this Sunday at 5pm via a Zoom link. We will send out the order of service, and the readings, later.

EP Readings
Psalm 56
2 Samuel 2.1-11; 3.1
Luke 18.31-19.10

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SUNDAY COFFEE ZOOM
After you have watched or listened to this Sunday’s online service of your choice, we invite you to join us for a chat over coffee via Zoom at 11.30 for about half an hour.

We will resend the meeting details later. 
—————————————————————-——————————————
 
 EVENING PRAYER DURING THE WEEK
We are now holding Evening Prayer meetings every Tuesday and Thursday at 1700 (5.00pm).
 
The liturgy will be Common Worship in contemporary language.
The best way to follow along is using the Church of England’s Daily Prayer App.
It can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
 
We will resend the meeting details later. OXFORD DIOCESE CHURCH AT HOME
05 July 10am – watch online or dial in

Our Church at Home service for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity takes place at 10am. The Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, presides from his home and the address is given by the Revd David Walker, Vicar of Greyfriars, Reading, one of five resourcing churches in the Diocese of Oxford.
 
The order of service is available to download now and, as ever, all of the links to view, listen or dial in to the service will be available on this page around an hour before the service.
 
As the National Health Service turns 72 years of age, many of the contributions to our church at home service this weekend are from people working in the NHS. Do join them, and us, at 10am on Sunday.

Live stream
Download the order of service
Watch on YouTube at 10am on Sunday
Watch on Facebook at 10am on Sunday
 
Parishioners unable to access the internet can dial 01865 920930 to hear the service.
 
The services are also available to listen to on Soundcloud.
https://soundcloud.com/user-487535189/sets/church-at-home
 
Reflections for a Church in Lockdown
Episodes are available to listen to now, or download it wherever you get your podcasts (search ‘My extraordinary family’)
https://blogs.oxford.anglican.org/podcast

PLEASE PRAY FOR

Healing: Blake, Sam, Reuben, Margaret, David, Don, Karl, Hugh, Sarah, Elsie, Lesley, Refugees, Prisoners, the Homeless and those who mourn.
 
The Departed: Myrtle Kemp
 
Community prayers: Clewer Green School, the head teacher Martin Tinsley and all the pupils, staff and governors. For all our Care Homes, for the safety of residents and staff. Also please pray for our wedding couples as they wait with anticipation and uncertainty at this this time.
 
Parish Cycle of Prayer: Please pray for all who live or work in Hermitage Lane, Longbourn, Maidenhead Road, Rays Avenue, Wells Close, Vale Road, and Buckland Crescent.
 
Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Pray for the united Church of Pakistan. Pray also for the Churches in North Queensland (Australia), Kaduna (Nigeria), North West Australia (Australia), Awka (Nigeria), Kafanchan (Nigeria), Northern Argentina (South America), Awori (Nigeria), Northern California (The Episcopal Church), Badagry (Nigeria), Ballarat (Australia), Northern Indiana (The Episcopal Church), Bangor (Wales), Northern Luzon (Philippines), Banks & Torres (Melanesia), and Kagera (Tanzania)

Please continue to pray for and support your neighbours and families in any way you can whilst keeping yourself safe.


NOTICES


We opened the Church for the first time since the middle of March on Wednesday, and welcomed seven people.

We must emphasise that the Church is open for private prayer only, please keep the amount of chatting and socialising to a minimum, and leave the building promptly.
  Here is a short video, showing what people should expect when they visit, now that the Church is open for Private Prayer, Wednesday and Sunday, 10am-12


PARISH MAILING LIST

If you know of anyone who would like to receive the Pews News by email, please ask them to email office@clewerparish.org to be added to the list. We currently have 89 subscribers. We are still waiting to hear from you and share your stories. Please email them to rector@clewerparish.org or office@clewerparish.org

Church Finances – message from Andrew
If you are filling your envelopes and have a stack at home, if you can, please bring them round to the Rectory and we can get your giving paid in. Thank you
In the light of this suspension of services you might like to consider continuing your regular giving by paying directly to our bank account, the details of which are:
HSBC Bank, High Street, Windsor
Sort Code: 40-47-37
Account number: 11373366  Account name: PCC St Andrews Church
 
Symbols of hope and happiness – I would like to set you all a creative challenge. How about knitting or crocheting symbols of hope and happiness, flowers, hearts, crosses, doves etc. Any colours and shape. Then when we are able to gather, we can join them all together to make an altar frontal or a banner, in celebration of faith, hope and love. Let me know if you’d like to join in. Revd Rosie
Pictures can be posted to the St Andrews Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/standrewsclewer

Windsor Foodshare – are now putting boxes in various locations in the area for donations. They welcome all non-perishable foods. At the moment they are short of tinned fruit. Details on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/windsorfoodshare/

Windsor Homeless Project – Sleep-less Sit-out 26 June 2020
 Letter from Tom Hinds – transcribed from a scan, and edited for clarity and length
 
Hurrah! Hooray! Olé! Thank you, the generous 53, in your sympathy for the homeless in Windsor, donated £1,800 in response to my request, (with Gift Aid to come of £245), which was matched by an anonymous charitable source (also with Gift Aid), so some £4,090! – all triggered by the thought of me spending eight night-hours (at £3.75 a minute!) in a chair under an apple tree on Susan’s allotment.
 
The event as a whole, with 43 sleepers, may have raised c. £18,000
 
In the eight weeks 30 March to 22 May we delivered just over 1,000 cooked meals, along with non-perishable food and toiletry supplies to 57 individual guests. On average we are delivering to 32 individuals three times a week, with double deliveries on Friday to see them through the weekend.
 
With thanks, again, and love, trust, hope…
Tom.
 
You can donate at https://www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sleepout2020
 
Tom has asked us to say that if you sponsored him, please would you send him a note or a cheque (payable to Windsor Christian Action), rather than donate online, because he can “tap matching funding for what I personally pay in”.
Cheques may be left at 145 Maidenhead Road.
 
Windsor Homeless/Windsor Christian Action Projects – Cooks Required
Mulle Price, an active member of WCA asks if someone would be prepared to cook for the project. Particularly 15 July, ideally Shepherd’s Pie, 15 portions if possible. They can be collected on the evening of 14 July. 
 Please email the Parish Office – office@clewerparish.org – if you can help.
 
Trevor Morgan’s Fundraising for a school in Kenya
Trevor has asked us to remind you that he is still collecting banknotes and coins, from any country, any age. The need for funds in the school in Nakuru, Kenya is even greater as a result of the pandemic and like here, the school has had to close, and children are struggling. Trevor is happy to collect coins and notes from anyone.
 Please email the Parish Office – office@clewerparish.org – if you can help.
 
Psalm Resource
Robert, our organist, has sent us a link to a YouTube video of Psalms being sung by Guildford Cathedral Choir, directed by Barry Rose, during services at Guildford Cathedral and elsewhere, 1961-1974. It is many hours in length, and there is a key to which psalms are where in the recording in the first comment on the video. Click ‘Read more’ to expand the comment.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9uHfqSnU94
You might find that it helps to reflect and relax in these times. Thanks to Robert.
WEST WINDSOR HUB

A PROVISION FOR THE LOCAL COMMUNITY – A SUPPORT HELP-LINE CONNECTING YOU TO RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE OR A FRIENDLY CHAT OVER THE PHONE

If you have help from family or friends we encourage you to continue to accept help from them as usual.  If any of your circumstances change and you need help from outside these support groups then please contact us to let us know. If you are having difficulties we advise you to call the HUB number above and we’ll arrange help for you.

More information:
https://allsaintschurchdedworth.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestWindsorHub

CONTACTS
The Parish Office is now closed.
Sharon (our administrator) is currently on furlough.
 
Out of hours office number: 07490 094261
Email:  office@clewerparish.org   –  Stuart will pick up any emails

Revd Rosie Webb: rector@clewerparish.org
Tel: 01753  852334
 
Parish website: www.standrewsclewer.org
 
Churchwarden: Stuart Cockman
 
 Pastoral helpline number: 07946 590223

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