Every Sunday at 11 am Family Church is held. On the third Sunday of the month Holy Communion is celebrated at this service. (Please note that occasionally services take place at Brookmans Park URC – check our Calendar page)
As we are a joint pastorate, our Minister leads us in worship on the second and third Sundays of the month.
On other Sundays we benefit from welcoming to our pulpit a wide range of preachers all of whom have strong links with our church.
A Message from our Minister (August 2018)
It was very exciting for me to begin planning our program of bible study.
This marks a new phase in my return to work. We have agreed to begin in September. There will be weekly meetings looking at the scripture set for the coming Sunday. In addition there will be more thematic meetings taking place less often.
It is a great joy to me to study the word with others. This ancient literary witness to God’s
saving work always has something new to offer. These different approaches promise deeper insights as I return to fuller service. I hope that some of you will be ready to accompany me on this journey.
Geoff Peterson’s Monthly Message.
(Geoff is an adherent of our Church, who writes a regular message for our magazine The News)
My Treasured Memories (August 2018)
This is one of my treasured memories from my school days, now a long time ago! But it is still true today, it is the ‘end of term’. This month (July) and August signals the end of the scholarly year of working. Schools will close, and the summer time is upon us. It is time to unwind and relax whether you are in school, out of school, nothing to do with school, or working your way through a career, or like me just plain retired! Incidentally, I think that the Open University year is the only one that does not conform to this traditional pattern and in the summer period we tutors all took off for an intensive period of teaching work and study at Summer School: the course-end examinations for the OU being in October. Another treasured memory!
But what of the church year? It, too, is an intense year starting with the anticipation of Christmas time and the coming of Jesus and then the progression to Holy Week, Easter time, then Pentecost. After Ascension not much happens in the Church Calender – until term starts again in the autumn.
I noticed in the Lectionary for August a small (or Minor) Feast Day for Joseph of Arimathaea, just a small celebration, just a small mention in the passage of events. But what do we know about him and his contribution to the wonderful story?
Surprisingly he is mentioned in all four Gospel accounts. A rich man, a member of the Sanhedrin, a devout Jew waiting for the coming of the Messiah, a follower of Jesus, (although secretly for fear of the Jews).
Firstly, why of Arimathaea ? There are several Joseph’s in the NT, so this is a different Joseph from the others! Arimathaea isin the hill country of Ephraim, in Judea. Arimathaea may be Ramah or Ramathairn-Zophim which is northwest of Jerusalem. Ramah is the home town of Samuel and where David came to him in 1 Samuel 1 et seq; and it may be the modern town of Rentis, but in truth we are not sure at all.
Joseph must have been well thought of to get quick access to Pilate and ask for the body of the Lord, a person who had just died a criminal’s death. Brave, too, because the last encounter that Pilate had had on Jesus’ account was the clamour of the murderous crowd demanding death for a person who so clearly had not committed any crime warranting death, in fact no crime at all.
Have you ever wondered what happened, next? The Sabbath was fast approaching when a Jew could do no work, so Joseph would have gone quickly to the site of the Cross, on that Friday before Sundown, sundown being about 4pm or so.
One account says that Nicodemus helped him. Together they had to take Jesus down, a grizzly job, probably in front of crowds of onlookers, and give Him a decent burial. No time for preparation and spices, just a simple linen wrap for the King of Kings. Then place him in a nearby tomb -.all before the Sabbath started.
Clearly Joseph cared deeply for Jesus to give him his own prepared tomb – he was a wealthy man. The two ladies Mary of Magdala and ‘the other’ Mary were there too, silently watching.
The tomb, as described, is just like ‘The Garden Tomb’ in Jerusalem today, the one that
Heather and I visited recently on our visit. This is the reason that General Gordon preferred
this site to the more revered Holy Sepulchre Church site, it having a rock hewn tomb with a closing stone (the stone is not there now but the running groove is plain to see).
The site of the Holy Sepulchre Church is almost surely the actual place where the event occurred but it has been so decorated as to make it impossible to visualise the scene and its place in history, The ladies were aware where Jesus was laid and on Resurrection morning, that wonderful Sunday, they knew where to go, although they intended to prepare the body properly, and instead they met the Risen Lord!
I wonder where Joseph was on Resurrection morning?
And that is all that we know about Joseph – however there is legend. Legend tells us that in AD61 Philip sent Joseph to England, to Glastonbury, and the first Christian Church to be established in Britain is at Glastonbury. So, when you watch the music festival at Glastonbury this summer holiday time, spare a thought for Joseph and his part in the wonderful story!!
I wish you a great and relaxed summer break and together, as a Church, as we look forward to the beginning of the new term. There is much to do – remember that great hymn?
‘to God be the Glory great things he has done … !
Let us prepare to live this great Truth of Resurrection and Salvation in our own lives, in our Church life and in our Community !