Sunday 21st October’s 11.00 am Family Service will be led by our Minster Revd Dr Nick Brindley and will include Holy Communion.
Sunday 14th October
Today was a bit special in the life of our Church.
We welcomed Mosayeb Araghi into Membership at our church, following his recent Christening at another church.
It was also the first such event conducted by our Minister Nick since his brain haemorrhage and subsequent stroke which occurred just about 2 years ago.
Nick is still recovering from the events: it’s a slow and laborious process requiring great courage and persistence and Nick has been supported unstintingly by his wife Pam, whose own courage and resilience has been amazing – and an inspiration to us all.
The day provided an opportunity for our first attempt to make a video recording of parts of our Sunday services.
The first video clip starts with Mary Deller delivering the Lectionary reading, with Nick’s Sermon on the passage following on.
The second clip is of Mosayeb’s Confirmation vows and coming into membership. Tony Corfe, who is Mosayeb’s sponsor gives a short introduction.
Nothing goes completely to plan in such events and you will note that it’s not just Nick’s hand that is shaking a bit. We’ll use a camera tripod next time!
It was a moving event and worth a second look even if you were there.
Click on the “start triangle” to view the videos.
The 7th October was our Harvest Service, led by John Mackerness.
One view on today’s Sermon (16th September)
This week’s sermon was on Mark 8 verses 27-38.
This was about Jesus asking his disciples about how people saw him and who they thought he was. When he talked about his future path he got into an argument with Peter, but Nick chose to concentrate on his follow-on message to his disciples.
He talked to them about what it would mean to follow him and what might happen to those who chose not to. Nick felt this addressed us all directly – particularly as we gathered to take Holy Communion.
The command to deny yourself and take up your cross doesn’t seem very attractive and Jesus doesn’t try to make it attractive. There are no promises.
The alternative is worse, however. What does it benefit you to gain the whole world, but to lose your life and your soul?
Not following Jesus can gain you material success: following Jesus and the Gospels will save your soul.*
Nick believes that only God can provide the basis of being an individual having a “self”. What is the basis of your sense of “self”?
Jesus suggests it will prove to be an illusion if it is based on anything but God. If we base it on God, he will support us and bear us up along a tough path.
As we participate in Communion, Jesus promises that he will walk every step of the way with us.
We are, and we will never be alone.
*Of course, there is much guidance in the Gospels that is contradictory, or out of time, where our sense of what is right for our society in the 21st Century has moved on. But then he never said it would be easy?
One view on today’s Sermon (9th September)
Today’s sermon was on Mark 7 verses 24-37.
The scene is Tyre, Jesus has gone there for some R&R and is closeted in a private house with his disciples. He’s still coming to terms with his popularity with the crowds and is taking some quiet time, whilst continuing the instruction of his closest disciples.
Suddenly a woman gains entry to the house. She’s a gentile – actually Greek – so not of the faith, but she has a favour to ask – her daughter has been possessed by an evil spirit.
Jesus’s is clearly irritated by her intrusion and gives her the sharp side of his tongue – in effect calling her a dog, the lowest of the low. But unlike a dog, she answers back, saying that even dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the children’s table.
After a pause, Jesus tells her that her daughter has been cured. The girl is far away, so we don’t know whether Jesus has acted, or the cure has come from another source. In any event the request is from someone with no specific knowledge or belief (but perhaps with faith?). She offers nothing, but asks a favour. Somehow it is granted.
Nick tells us that the healing intervention – indeed all divine interventions – follow no rules or processes that we can understand. They remain a mystery and we cannot see any particular justice in what happens or to whom it happens.
But the interventions do happen.
And in our Church life and our interactions with society around us, perhaps we should hope for a few crumbs?
One view on today’s Sermon (19th August)
Todays sermon was on John 6 verses 51-66 and, in particular, verses 54 & 54.
Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in yourselves. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood will have eternal life, and I will raise them to life on the last day.
Nick told us that some of his disciples found the concept of eating his flesh and drinking his blood so disgusting that they left him forever. He suggested we could take note of Calvin’s view that it was faith linked to the eucharist that gave us eternal life.
Nonetheless, he put the eucharist at the heart of the church and at the core of our lives. Our worshipping community taking communion (it was a communion Sunday) had life in themselves, whilst all around was death.
This brought us the obligation share this knowledge with others outside the church so that they could also have life within them.
This was challenging stuff in which no prisoners are taken!
One view on today’s Sermon (12th August)
The reading was John 6 v 35 & 41-51.
Nick told us that John stands out from the other Gospel writers in emphasising again and again the importance of Christ as a route to an understanding of God. God is unchanging, but if you want to understand him you have to look in the Bible at Jesus and to understand Jesus you have to look at God.
A bit circuitous (or Catch 22 like?), but there you go. Nick says you start from wherever you are.
John is also clear that to try to find your own way to God is a waste of time.
John also stands out in emphasising that for those with faith and belief, Eternal Life starts now – no waiting for the end of time.
And so to the church in society.
In the sixties when our church was built, the church was contiguous with local society sharing its values (for good or ill). Going to church on a Sunday was an integral part of weekly life.
Today, the church is isolated from society, alien and regarded with suspicion. Going to church on a Sunday is seen as an eccentricity. We see our children (and grandchildren) drift away. Nick was reminded, meeting old friends from his youth, that his vocation as a minister of the church is seen by them as wildly eccentric!
So, what of us?
Faith and belief brings its reward for which we witness in our lives. God endures and the church will endure.