10 May 2020 – Fifth Sunday of Easter

Alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

WELCOME

Another week of sunshine, another week at home. I hope you have managed some exercise even if its up and down the stairs? We went for a walk on Monday up to the Great Park, in fact we ended going quite abit further as we just loved being out and walking. Later, Pearl said “Grandma, I can tell the story of our walk by the paths on your face, its like a map and the end of your nose is like the top of the hill with the copper horse”!!

Oh my, do I have so many lines now! Something else to worry about!
We have also been enjoying all the VE day 75 celebrations, watching the old films, making bunting and cakes from war time recipes, listening to the speeches etc. So many deaths, so many lives changed, so many troubled minds and disfigured bodies, loves lost and new loves made. How would life be now that freedom returned?

Todays gospel reading is well known, many rooms, do not let your heart be troubled, Father’s house etc. It is a very familiar passage for funerals and it’s another I have read many times lately. Generations have found comfort in these words, imagining that death is like relocating into another room. But is it?

Blessings
Revd Rosie

In the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
Grace, mercy and peace from God our
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
and also with you.
 
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
 
­Almighty God,
your Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence.
Give us new hearts and constant wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

COLLECT

Almighty God,
who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ
have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

READINGS

Acts 7.55-end

55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ 57 But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58 Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ 60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 31.1-5, 15-16

1  In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
      let me never be put to shame;
   deliver me in your righteousness.
2  Incline your ear to me;
   make haste to deliver me.
3  Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
      for you are my rock and my stronghold;
   guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
4  Take me out of the net
      that they have laid secretly for me,
   for you are my strength.
5  Into your hands I commend my spirit,
   for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
15  ‘My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
      and from those who persecute me.
16  ‘Make your face to shine upon your servant,

1 Peter 2.2-10

2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5 like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in scripture:
‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
   a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’
7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
‘The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the very head of the corner’,
8 and
‘A stone that makes them stumble,
   and a rock that makes them fall.’
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
10 Once you were not a people,
   but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
   but now you have received mercy.

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

John 14.1-14

14 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ 5 Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ 6 Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

8 Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ 9 Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Reflection

It can be comforting to think that when a loved one has died, they have simply moved into another room, relocated. But heaven is not a location on a map, heaven is beyond space and time, not even outer space! Can you remember when you last moved house? It is not so much as comforting but one of the most stressful experiences!

In the reading from John we hear the words ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’, it is part of Jesus’ farewell speech with the disciples in the upper room. It is about how the disciples, and us, carry on with life after his death, resurrection and ascension. Why he had to leave?
The loss of Jesus would make their hearts troubled and hearts are troubled when we stop believing. The early church was troubled due to the frightening prospect of facing the persecution and suffering at being left alone when Jesus is no longer there. Also that sense of loss, an absence, feeling abandoned, even forgotten by God.

Do you feel abandoned by God in this situation?
There are many things which undermine our faith and our peace.
So how can we still our troubled hearts?

Jesus returned to God, God was in Jesus’ earthly life and now he had to return but in order to do that he had to prepare. Here’s the thing…what was Jesus preparing for us.. the Holy Spirit. If Jesus had not returned to the Father, we would not have been left with the Spirit. So it makes sense that although his death was hideous, it was also a blessing. Jesus has a dwelling place with the Father, but the Father has a dwelling place in the Son, and when we enter a relationship with Jesus through his Spirit –  we become members of the same family, the same dwelling place. A place where we can related to and be with the Father and the Son. And this dwelling place is for now, it doesn’t only begin after we die. We rarely have time to prepare for death, but Jesus prepared for our life and death, Stephen saw that before he was stoned to death. The preparation is the bit between ascension and the coming of his Spirit at Pentecost. This is what happens when we enter into a relationship with Jesus through the Spirit, we believe, we trust the truth, and we have new life. Stephen knew the way, the Spirit gave him the freedom to share the truth of the gospel message.

You may still be asking questions like Thomas, he was still thinking about travel directions and maps and destinations, but don’t forget he did recognise Jesus and claim him as the Messiah. Jesus is our destination, he is the truth and knowing him brings life because he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Knowing Jesus through the Spirit brings life, not a physical place but a relationship, not a mansion but a community of chosen people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, God’s people, living stones. We are not left alone, but because of the spirit, Jesus is with us, he has prepared a place and we are invited to dwell within, to abide with him, not in darkness but into wonderful, glorious, marvellous light!

PRAYERS – Trevor Morgan

During these times of stress and separation from our loved ones, let us take comfort from the words of Laban to Jacob: “may the Lord watch between you and me when we are parted from each other’s sight”.

Prayers in a time of coronavirus

Even in the darkest moments, love gives hope. Love compels us to fight against coronavirus alongside our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Love compels us to stand together in prayer with our neighbours near and far. Love compels us to give and act as one. It is clear that our futures are bound together more tightly than ever before. As we pray in our individual homes let us be united as one family.
Lord, in your mercy….hear our prayer

For the health workers tending the seriously ill, for the scientists working on a vaccination, for the supermarket workers, hygiene and sanitation providers, for the good news stories of recoveries, for the clapping from front doors and the singing from balconies in locked down communities, for the notes through letter boxes offering help and support, for the internet and telephones to remain in contact
thanks be to God

For those who are unwell and concerned about loved ones, for all at risk because of underlying conditions, for those whose income has dried up, for those who still have to go to work, for those who are afraid to be at home, for those who are lonelier than ever before, for those who are bereaved and grieving, for those unable to bid a final farewell to friends or loved ones, Almighty God, be their healer, comfort and protection. Be their strength, shield and provision. Be their security, safety and close companion.
Lord, in your mercy….hear our prayer

God of heaven and earth, in these times of isolation, apart from loved ones, distant from friends, away from neighbours, thank you that there is nothing in all creation, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor coronavirus which will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Thanks be to God

Loving Lord, may your love that never ends be our comfort, strength and guide for the well being of all and the glory of God.
Amen

BLESSING

The Lord be with you
And also with you.

The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the eternal covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.
Amen

SUNDAY EVENING

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

EP Readings

Psalm 147.1-12
Zechariah 4..1-10
Revelation 21.1-14

PLEASE PRAY FOR
 
Healing: Blake, Sam Evans, Reuben, Margaret, David, Don, Karl, Hugh, Sarah, Elsie, Lesley, Rufus and James, Refugees, Prisoners, the Homeless and those who mourn.
 
The lately departed: Alfred Delamere, Pamela Powell, Malcolm Scott and those whose anniversary falls at this time.
 
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 in Parsonage Lane, Errington Drive, Chantry Close, Rectory Close, Haslemere Road, Oak Lane, Orchard Avenue, and Dedworth Road.
 
Anglican Cycle of Prayer:
Pray for the Anglican Church of Kenya, Muranga South (Kenya), Zaki-Biam (Nigeria), Ikwerre (Nigeria), Muyinga (Burundi), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Ikwo (Nigeria), Zaria (Nigeria), Mytikyina (Myanmar), Zonkwa (Nigeria), Zululand (Southern Africa), Nagpur (North India), Aba (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya), Aba Ngwa North (Nigeria), and Ikwuano (Nigeria).
 
Please continue to pray for and support your neighbours and families in any way you can whilst keeping yourself safe.

Christian Aid [from the letter to supporters 27 Apr 2020]
[Christian Aid Week starts on Sunday 10 May]
[There will be a separate mailing on Sunday]

Our red envelope has long been symbolic of Christian Aid Week and the commitment of our volunteers who take to the streets to deliver it each year. This May we need to do things a little differently so we are delighted to now share with you our e-Envelope. In three simple steps, you can create and send a personal message, picture or video to your friends and family and continue to raise important funds for people living in poverty around the world – more important than ever in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Send an e-Envelope today and save lives ►
[https://envelope.christianaid.org.uk]

A very special Christian Aid Week celebration

Please join us for our live Christian Aid Week Sunday service on the 10th May at 1pm introduced by Amanda Mukwashi, Christian Aid’s Chief Executive, we will have special guest speakers, prayers from our partners and a Sermon from Dr Rowan Williams.

Throughout Christian Aid Week (Monday 11th to Saturday 16th May) we will also be streaming short reflections each day so please join with us as we stand together in love and solidarity with our brother and sisters around the world.

Link here ►
[https://www.christianaid.org.uk/christian-aid-week/daily-prayer-reflection]

NOTICES

Seriously! We’d love to hear from you and share your stories. Please email them to rector@clewerparish.org or office@clewerparish.org

Church Finances – message from Andrew
With the suspension of church services our income is likely to fall and, while some of our costs will be reduced, others will be incurred whether we are “open for business” or not. 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

I would like to thank all those who have made donations directly to the church bank account. A number of these have been made directly in branch and unfortunately details of the donor are not given on bank statements, so we are unaware of who has given us this money. If you have made your payment in this way perhaps you could let either myself, or the Rev Rosie, know of this and whether we may claim Gift Aid on your giving.

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

Self Isolation Choir – The Self Isolation Choir has been specially formed in response to the global impact of the Coronavirus. Singers from around the world can join and take part in the events and activities organised by the choir in their own home. The first event will be singing Handel’s Messiah.
https://www.choraline.com/self-isolation-choir

Bible Challenge – At the moment we are doing this as a WhatsApp group call, please contact the Parish Office on office@clewerparish.org to be added to the group.

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 cooking sauces, tinned vegetables, tinned tomatoes, tinned meat/fish, squash/cordial, tea/coffee. They have plenty of pasta, rice, soup and long-life milk. Details on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/windsorfoodshare

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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