17 May 2020 – Sixth Sunday of Easter

Mt Ararat

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

WELCOME

Do you have a picture of a rainbow in your window?

Most of us do, but I was reminded in one of my conversations this week, that not everybody knows about the rainbow in the bible and God’s promise. It got me thinking, a comparison with our current situation and the story of Noah (Gen 7). It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, we have now passed our 40 days and for us it hasn’t ended. The same with Noah, just because it stopped raining didn’t mean that everything went straight back to normal again!

Noah’s ease back into some form of normality after the flood carried on for another 150 days- 5 months (Gen 7.24)! Noah was a righteous man, he was also human, yes, we can imagine being shut up with the family, and all the animals, perhaps not on a boat, but the feelings and emotions are real to us. Noah had faith and hope and needed a great deal of patience. He kept sending out birds who came back with empty beaks until finally one came back with an olive branch, a sign of life! Did you realise it was not until the 7th month that the ark finally landed/grounded on Mt Ararat? (Gen 8) So in total the duration of Noah and his family’s isolation was about 11 Months!!! There is much to reflect on in this Old Testament story, so for all of you experiencing isolation boredom, frustration and home schooling nightmares – remember the rainbow and the story of Noah and God’s promise, one of hope and love.

None of us are perfect but we are loved by God and we are not on our own. Talk to someone, go for a walk, do some relaxation techniques, paint a rainbow and pray as you add each colour, go easy on the wine and find patience like Noah. PS… the first thing Noah planted was a vineyard!


The photo above is from my son’s trip to Armenia last year, Mt Ararat is in Turkey and it’s the mountain with the cloud on top.

This week’s sermon slot is from Canon Brian, enjoy!

Blessings for your week ahead, till we meet again.
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
God our redeemer,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life,
so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy;
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.
Amen

READINGS

Acts 17.22-31

22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said,
“For we too are his offspring.”

29 Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

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

Psalm 66.7-end

7  Bless our God, O you peoples;
   make the voice of his praise to be heard,
8  Who holds our souls in life
   and suffers not our feet to slip.
9  For you, O God, have proved us;
   you have tried us as silver is tried.
10  You brought us into the snare;
   you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.
11  You let enemies ride over our heads;
      we went through fire and water;
   but you brought us out into a place of liberty.
12  I will come into your house with burnt offerings
      and will pay you my vows,
   which my lips uttered
      and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
13  I will offer you fat burnt sacrifices
      with the smoke of rams;
   I will sacrifice oxen and goats.
14  Come and listen, all you who fear God,
   and I will tell you what he has done for my soul.
15  I called out to him with my mouth
   and his praise was on my tongue.
16  If I had nursed evil in my heart,
   the Lord would not have heard me,
17  But in truth God has heard me;
   he has heeded the voice of my prayer.
18  Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer, •
   nor withheld his loving mercy from me.

1 Peter 3.13-end

13 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14 But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. 21 And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

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 14.15-21

15 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

18 ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

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

REFLECTION Canon Brian Shenton
 
Readings:

Acts 17:22-31
Paul exhorts the Athenians to disregard idols, whose enslaving appetites can never be satisfied, and to worship the God who dwells in every breath of creation, including our own.

1 Peter 3;13-22
Peter instils confidence into fledgling communities, encouraging them to hold firm to the teaching of Jesus and his example in the face of antagonism from their contemporaries

St. John 14;15-21
Jesus assures his disciples that, through the comfort of the Spirit and obedience to his word, they will never be alone or abandoned in a hostile world.

Not everyone greeted the birth of the railways with open arms. many were afraid – the dangerous speeds of explosive locomotives, the cutting open of land, the spilling out of cities into the countryside – all this and more engendered an almost hysterical fear about the way the world was changing. It took Isambard Kingdom Brunel five years, four thousand men and a ton of gunpowder and candles a week to cut Box Tunnel through nearly two miles of hard stone in Wiltshire. When it was first opened people were too scared to travel through it, fearing they would be crushed by the air pressure below ground. Today, a hundred and sixty years later, the tunnel is in constant use, a vital link in the transport network. Brunel’s engineering was breathtakingly precise. During Eastertide, around the date of his birthday, the morning sun shines through the tunnel, from end to end, a visible sign of his confidence that the railways would ultimately bring light, not destruction.

Whereas during each episode in the first part of his Gospel John follows his descriptions of Jesus’ actions with a discourse interpreting the signs given, now he reverses his narrative order. Explanation precedes action – trial, death, resurrection and, implicitly, ascension. Stylistically, this serves the passion narrative well, allowing the textual momentum to flow smoothly, unencumbered by explanatory devices. But it works brilliantly too on a theological level. Here, in the early part of the “farewell discourse” (John 13:31 – 17:26). Jesus is preparing his disciples so that they will be able to live out his message once he is no longer physically with them. He is also trying to lessen the shock of the events he knows are coming next – his arrest, trial and death.

The speakers in all three of today’s readings are listening carefully to the needs and situations of their audiences. The Gospel passage, especially, reaches forward to the assurances of the Ascension and Pentecost, while also addressing the very palpable fear felt by the disciples at the Last Supper – they know something cataclysmic is going to happen, they have sensed the hostility towards them in the city, but they don’t know when, or how, the terror will strike and they are afraid that they don’t have the tools to cope with the demands thrust upon them.

Jesus reminds his followers that if they keep his commandments then they will be equipped. When they adopt his own model of love then it will be possible for them to break the bounds of expectation. The physical presence of Jesus is not necessary for a relationship with him to grow. But what is vital is the presence of the love of the Living God in the life of the community. Bound up with this is Jesus’ promise of the Paraclete – God’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God blowing through followers of Jesus, both individually and collectively, giving them comfort, aid and advocacy – a multi-tool equipping them for many tasks.

Brunel’s sceptical public viewed his majestic tunnel as something noxious and threatening, one of hell’s darker chambers that would be both a portent and an instrument of painful, seismic change. Similarly Jesus’ disciples were gripped by overwhelming fears – of imminent loss, separation and confusion in the face of hostility. Fear continues to be a great driver in the world today, one which affects individuals and communities with equal rapidity. Jesus’s words addressed to his disciples are designed to shine a light of love right through that tunnel of anxiety. Even at the deepest point of darkness the Living God does not abandon us.

We are all far too often motivated or imprisoned by fear. It affects our choices, fuels our media, fractures our society. But Jesus wants to remind us that this isn’t the only way. Like Brunel’s tunnel filtering the sun’s rays in Eastertide, we do have the means to see right through it – a clear conscience in Jesus will guarantee us a safe passage from one end to the other. Listening, loving, allowing the Spirit of the Gospel to mould and shape us personally and corporately are vital if we are not to be orphaned by fear. So too is hope – hope in the promise that Jesus is coming to us again. If we take steps to live by moving and listening truly attentively – to each other, to creation, to the Gospel of the Holy Spirit -and only then acting, will we be more effective as a community which reveals God’s love to others.

So, as its the Sixth Sunday of Easter here are Four things for you to Remember or Forget!

1. Each year during Eastertide, the sun shines right the way through Box Tunnel in Wiltshire.

2. Fear can be a key driver of our attitudes and beliefs.

3. All three speakers in our readings remind us, not only to listen to our fears, but also that God, the Living God  provides the tools to step beyond fear into a life of transforming love.

4. Jesus has given us the Gospel, the Spirit and the promise of his return. It is up to us how we make those central to our discourse and action.

PRAYERS – John Bruce
 
The response to the words Lord hear us, is Lord graciously hear us.
 
Let us pray for the Church and for the world, and let us thank God for his goodness.
 
In this time of unprecedented change to us all, even though we are not together in buildings, we are together in our homes and hearts, together as a church family, together as God’s people, and through all bishops and priests, albeit on-line, to praise you and to hear your holy word.
Give us a sense of expectation as we come, and inspiration as we go. Help us to put our differences behind us, and to unite instead behind the great commission of Jesus, to make disciples of all nations.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
God of Clewer, and of our nation, we pray for those willing to take on the responsibilities of government and leadership at national and local levels, church and state, our local community, and humanitarian aid – the lengths people are going to in order to help others. The many thousands of volunteers delivering PPE, and food packages to hungry children, and elderly people living alone.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
Dear Lord, turn your healing love towards those who are sick and in pain today. We pray for those infected with Coronavirus. We have in our hearts some known to us, some known to the church, and some known only through the news. We bring them to mind now.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
                                                         
We pray for our noble NHS, all the thousands of nurses, doctors, medics, porters, key helpers in care homes, who daily risk infection, and their lives, by their constant help and dedication.                                                     
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful and lift up all who are brought low – particularly those who in their final hours, are prevented from physical contact from family and friends – knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
As we come to the end of Christian Aid week, we thank all those who raised funds in many and various ways.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
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.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
The lately departed: Alfred Delamere, Pamela Powell, Malcolm Scott and those whose anniversary falls at this time.
Lord hear us
Lord graciously hear us
 
Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and all people to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father
Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
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 87
Zechariah 8.1-13
Revelation 21.22-22.5

OXFORD DIOCESE CHURCH AT HOME

17 May 10am – watch online or dial in

Revd Canon Sue Booys presides at our 10am Church at Home service this Sunday and we shall hear a reflection from the Very Revd Professor Martyn Percy in the Deanery at Christ Church. The order of service will be available on the website on Friday and the viewing link is emailed to all subscribers each Sunday morning. Parishioners unable to access the internet can dial 01865 920930 to hear the service.
[https://www.oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-covid-19/livestream]

Thursday 21 May 8:15pm (Ascension Day)

Church at Home services take place on Sundays and principal holy days, so please remember to put a note in your diary for our special Ascension Day service, taking place at 8:15pm on Thursday 21 May.

Reflections for a Church in Lockdown
Episode 4 is available to listen to now, or download it wherever you get your podcasts (search ‘My extraordinary family’)
[https://blogs.oxford.anglican.org/podcast/be-still-psalm-4/]

THY KINGDOM COME

The global wave of prayer 21-31 May 2020

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension Day (21 May) and Pentecost (31 May) for more people to come to know Jesus.

Resources:
Thy Kingdom Come – Church of England
Thy Kingdom Come – Global

Hub Poster

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

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 Korea, and the Churches in Nakuru (Kenya),  Abakaliki (Nigeria),  Ilaje (Nigeria),  Nambale (Kenya), Aberdeen & Orkney (Scotland), Ile – Oluji (Nigeria), Namibia (Southern Africa), Abuja (Nigeria),  Namirembe (Uganda), Abyei (South Sudan),  Accra (West Africa), Nandyal (South India), Adelaide (Australia), Nasik (North India), Afikpo (Nigeria), Ilesa (Nigeria) and Ilesa South West (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 started on Sunday 10 May, but it is never too late to donate!]

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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