Latest News / Posts

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Pew Sheet - February 22nd

They who dwell in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty:   Psalm 91:1
Visit us now in the centre of our life, O Christ. Hold firm among our frail holding to truth, stand tall when we would lower our life’s aspirations, speak boldly into our false assumptions and look us in the eye when we fool ourselves by pretending to do your will. Make transparent the wiles of those who would tempt us, calling us in voices of sweetness and reason while attempting to capture our very souls. Be with all those today who need your company in the wilderness of their lives.
Collect for the First Sunday of Lent
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are, yet without sin: give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit; and, as you know our weakness, so may we know your power to save; 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 for Today:     
Old Testament.   Genesis 9: 8 -17
Introduction to the Epistle
In the New Testament reading, 1 Peter, we have a , hopeful message. He compares the water of the flood to the water of baptism. Although only eight were saved in the Flood, baptism brings salvation to all. Baptism is something which cleanses, not physical dirt but the soul. It is not that the water used at baptism has some special effect, it is effective because baptism is the way that we express our trust in Jesus and in what he has achieved for us. The writer of 1 Peter, perhaps the Apostle Peter himself or his disciples, knew clearly the condition of humankind, troubled in conscience. The gift of God in Christ was to release us from that inner conflict and set us free to serve God. Peter knew that in Jesus we had God’s reassurance of sin forgiven because Jesus had gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. There was therefore no power from whom the Christian need be troubled or afraid.
New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 3: 18 – end
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, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 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. 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, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
Introduction to the Gospel
The Gospel reading records an episode from the life of Jesus in which he is shown to battle with the enemy in that conflict which will eventually be determined by victory over sin and death on the cross. After the baptism of Jesus he is led away into the desert and the inner turmoil of the human condition is shown to take place in the life of Jesus also. Jesus is shown tempted, surrounded by wild beast and angels. Many people will be able to look inside their own souls and understand the imagery of beasts and angels, the good and the bad at war within our own spiritual nature. In placing Jesus with wild beasts in the wilderness, Mark is making an important point. Protection from wild beasts was considered a sign of God’s blessing, remember Daniel and the lions? Yet there is more than this, the episode has the message of paradise restored. Where Adam had failed, Jesus was now setting things right. The peaceful existence with wild animals, the service of angels, overcoming Satan, all form part of the new order which Jesus brings. No wonder Jesus is shown to speak the words ‘ The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 9 – 15
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Post Communion Prayer
Lord God, you have renewed us with the living bread from heaven; by it you nourish our faith, increase our hope, and strengthen our love: teach us always to hunger for him who is the true and living bread, and enable us to live by every word that proceeds from out of your mouth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
At sometime in our lives each one of us has probably had one or more desert experiences - times of loneliness, disillusionment, emptiness, and spiritual dryness; times of change, decision, transition, and struggle. Times when we wonder what God’s calling, and our faith, are all about. Times when we seemingly have no other option but to wait until God’s direction for us begins to unfold. Jesus begins his ministry with exactly this experience. A time of loneliness, reflection, discernment, transition and struggle. Thankfully, the Spirit of God that accompanied Jesus in the wilderness accompanies each of us in our desert experiences too. And just as for Jesus, our desert experiences, however painful, can be a time of discovery and growth. A time that draws us into God's presence, offering us an opportunity to discern once again what it is that God is asking of us each in this short, earthly journey. A time, as Evelyn Underhill writes, ‘when we can have a secret correspondence of the soul.’
Father, into your hands I place my successes. Into your hands I also place my failures, and I pray that, through your spirit, I may face the challenges of life with courage and determination. Help me to think anew and see things more broadly than in terms of “success” and  “failure”. Lead me always to trust and place myself confidently in your hands.
Lent has traditionally been a time for fasting. In a culture of excess, the daily habits of excessive consumption dull us to the promptings of God and the needs of others. Fasting may be done in a variety of ways. Perhaps the following suggestions can help us get our focus right.
Fasting and Feasting
LENT should be more than a time for fasting. 
It should also be a joyous season of feasting.
Lent is a time to fast FROM certain things and to feast ON other things.
It is a season in which we should:
FAST from judging others; FEAST on the Christ within them
FAST from emphasis on differences; FEAST on the unity of life.
FAST from apparent darkness; FEAST on the reality of lights.
FAST from thoughts of illness; FEAST on the healing power of God.
FAST from words that pollute; FEAST on phrases that purify.
FAST from discontent; FEAST on gratitude.
FAST from anger; FEAST on patience.
FAST from pessimism; FEAST on optimism.
FAST from worry; FEAST on divine order. Trust in God.
FAST from complaining; FEAST on appreciation.
FAST from negatives; FEAST on affirmatives.
CaFé Sunday
Who?       A informal, relaxed and fun gathering for all ages,
                 for all the family and for the whole community.
                 Come when you can; go when you must.
Where?    In Church House, Long Crendon
When?    The first Sunday of every month from 10.00am.
How?       Easy breakfast is served.
                There are crafts and activities for children,
                 Food for Thought and informal chat for adults.
Why?       A new way of ‘being church’.
                Church is primarily about gathering with each other
                and with God.