United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
22nd November 2020 : Christ the King
WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM SEASON
Our churches being closed for public worshipthis month,we rely on people joining online services if they so wish. The diocesan website www.portsmouth.anglican.org has a direct link to parishes that are streaming live worship, while for those unable to access such resources this pewsheet continues to contain material for offering a “spiritual communion” at home. Since the 24-7 prayer room proved popular a few weeks ago, it has been reinstated at St James’ hall – though for safety’s sake we ask you to book a time rather than just turning up. (See elsewhere in this pew sheet for details of how to book.) If you do choose simply to turn up, please take note that the room may already be in use and look out for the “Prayer Room Occupied” sign on the outer door.
Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch recent worship via the following link:
Alternatively, search on Youtube for St Mildred’s Church and find all previous services.
FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:
Give thanks for: our royal family; Bishop Christopher and his leadership team
Pray for: the Civil Service; refugees; Christ the King College, Newport, and Rev Mike Exell (chaplain)
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:
Please pray for: Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Ena Young; Brenda; Stuart; Andrew; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family; Emily; Lilly; Jenny and Mike Abbott; Gary; Oliver; Jenny; Ruth’s family
Give thanks for: paramedics; flu vaccine administrators; our health centre
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
Ruth Raper; Elizabeth Mew (“Bet”)
COLLECT FOR THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
NEW TESTAMENT READING Ephesians 1 : 15-end
15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
GOSPEL READING Matthew 25 : 31-end
Jesus said, 31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
One of the earliest phrases that young children learn to utter, usually when their wishes have not been granted, is “It’s not fair!” Fairness is something that registers in us as important from a very early age, and children have a particularly acute sense of it. That sense remains with us as we grow up, and as adults we tend to think of it more as justice. It is certainly very satisfying when someone gets their comeuppance, as so many books and films will attest. When in a story the hero remains unrewarded or the villain triumphs, we feel indignant and dissatisfied. At heart, we all long for justice to be done because somehow the world is out of kilter otherwise.
Today we celebrate the reign of Christ the King, a reign characterised by perfect justice and peace. That, after all, is at the heart of the Beatitudes: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…. (Matthew 5 : 9-10). But the reign of Christ the King does not seem to be something we can instantly see. To all appearances it has not followed seamlessly after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Yet we should make no mistake: Jesus’ willingness to undergo suffering and death has indeed brought in a whole new kingdom. Kingdom values underpin our lives as Christians, even though in worldly terms it is a most strange sort of kingdom. I have only twice ever seen the crown jewels, but I remember how glittery and impressive they are. The gems of the Kingdom of heaven are altogether different. They consist in tiny acts of service and sacrifice, perpetuated often by poorer rather than richer people in society. Small words of comfort or encouragement to people in dark places are treasures more valuable than diamonds gleaming on a velvet cushion. Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked and visiting the isolated are more than physical acts of kindness: because all these things are not necessarily just physical needs but also emotional and spiritual needs. To all these acts of service Christians are called on a daily basis.
Yet mostly such acts are done “behind the scenes” and aren’t obvious at all. The Kingdom of which Christ is the King comes in stealthily, almost unnoticed and maybe sometimes even despised. And if you look ahead beyond Advent to Christmas, it was exactly the same when Jesus was born. Move on, nothing to see here, folks…. Yet to those who were paying attention there was everything to see. Admittedly, the shepherds needed a massive great display of glory in the skies to make them take notice, and the kings had to be alerted by a travelling star, but those who were willing to look and to kneel in awe and wonder were not disappointed. Similarly, Jesus’ humiliating death, on a rubbish tip with thieves on each side of him, was hardly an obvious sign of the dawning of the Kingdom. His followers experienced profound grief, disappointment, fear and anger. For three days they mourned and hid themselves away. But then…..
Quite possibly our time now is spent living like those first followers, in a world where evil seems to have got the upper hand and the Kingdom is a distant dream. But if the psalmist is right, “… in Your sight a thousand years are but a day that passes, or a watch of the night.” (Ps 90 : 4) then we should not despair. The Kingdom of God may not be here in its eventual eternal fulness, but if we keep looking, there are glimmers of it all around. The seeds of it are within us. Let’s spend our time nurturing those seeds in our daily lives and above all, let us keep inviting Christ to be King of our hearts as we wait in hope for our Lord and King to come in glory. Amen.
King of glory, King of peace, we thank you that all things are in your hands. Keep us from falling into despair and lighten the darkness of our fears with the sure knowledge of your love and care.
Your kingdom come:
Your will be done
God of all majesty, we pray for the rulers of our world. Mercifully grant them to aspire to justice and peace, and send them political leaders and advisers that act with integrity and honesty. We pray for Elizabeth our Queen and for our own government. As we thank you for the freedom that democracy brings, we pray for countries where there is oppression and tyranny. Raise up men and women of compassion and justice to lead and inspire a greater vision of what it is to have life in abundance.
Your kingdom come:
Your will be done
We lay before you our planet that is being stripped of its natural beauty and whose resources are so poorly shared. We thank you for brave ecological pioneers such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, and for humble unknown individuals who do their best to make this planet cleaner and safer. Stir our consciences to make more effort to play our part in the wellbeing of your creation.
Your kingdom come:
Your will be done
Mindful of our Gospel reading, we bring before you the hungry, the thirsty, the lonely, those who have no homes or clothing, the prisoners and all whom we know to be in need. In a time of quiet we recall those named in this pewsheet and our own loved ones in any kind of need. Create in us compassionate hearts and a willingness to go the extra mile for these your children.
Your kingdom come:
Your will be done
God of the living and the dead, we thank you for that great cloud of witnesses who have entered into your Kingdom and now have eternal rest, especially Bet Mew and Ruth Raper. Help those who mourn to remember that you have overcome death and that both we and they are always enfolded in your love. Bless those who will die today, and draw them gently into your kingdom.
Your kingdom come:
Your will be done
King of all kings and Lord of all Lords, our Rock and Defender, we pray that you will keep us safe this week ahead, alert for the signs of your Kingdom and joyful in your service.
accept these prayers,
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION
In union, Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the sure hope that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all my being. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. Amen.
You might like to sit in silence for a while, then pray:
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To conclude, listen to the music attached or simply rest quietly in God’s presence.
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York would like November to be seen as a month of prayer and suggest everyone prays on Thursdays at 6.00pm. A further suggestion is that we should fast as well, so if that is your personal discipline, please fell encouraged to do so. However, there are plenty of further suggestions to be found on the Church of England website, including a daily prayer suggestion. So here is the prayer for this week:
Lord Jesus Christ,
in these dark and difficult days, we turn our hearts to you.
In ages past, you have delivered our nation from disaster.
Do it again, we pray.
Give wisdom beyond human wisdom to our leaders,
Give strength beyond human strength to the NHS and all our frontline workers.
Give comfort beyond human comfort to the elderly and all who grieve.
Lord Jesus Christ,
in these dark and difficult days,
turn your face towards us,
have mercy upon us,
and heal our land, we pray.
For more ideas online, go to the section A Call to Prayer for the Nation on www.churchofengland.org
The island’s evensong choir, Cantus Vesperi, have offered to provide music for a carol service in St James’ church on Sunday 13th December at 4.00pm. Admission may have to be by ticket, but you are invited to express your interest in attending in advance of any tickets going out more widely than our two congregations. This is, of course, due to limited space. Seats are now only available in the side aisles and the balconies, due to a number having been reserved already. Contact Rev Susan (717026, or email revspaterson) if you wish your name to be added to the list of reserved places.
Cantus Vesperi are regular winners in island choral competitions, and we can expect a most enjoyable hour of music, even if we are not currently allowed to sing as a congregation. There will be a retiring collection.
WHIPPINGHAM CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL
The Christmas Tree Festival will run from 17th – 21st December at St Mildred’s Church, as follows:
Thurs 17th, Friday 18th, Saturday 19th: 11.00 – 3.00pm
Sunday 20th: 1.00 – 3.00pm
Setting up will be scheduled on the Monday and Tuesday, with specific time slots allocated to the various groups displaying a tree. There will be a rigorous admissions system (one in, one out) at the door to ensure social distancing is observed. Further details will be available next week, but meanwhile, to register your interest in being a helper at any time during the festival, please contact Liz Wilson on padmore888 (tel: 07977 028060). We are hoping for lots of volunteers, even if you can only spare an hour!
ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ
The café is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10.00am – 3.00pm for takeaways only. If you are taking your daily walk, why not drop in for some refreshment on your way?
CHURCHES OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER DURING THE WEEKS AHEAD:
St James’ – open on Sunday and Wednesday mornings 9.30-11.30am
Prayer room in St James’ hall open daily 9.00-5.00, including weekends. Please book either by phoning Rev Susan (717026) or directly online via this link: https://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/432475/
St Mildred’s – open 2.00-4.00pm Monday-Thursday, and also Sundays 11.00-12.00 noon
The boxes for Foodbank donations are in church and we invite you to drop in your donations during one of the times when the churches are open for private prayer.
We are hoping to have a socially-distanced Christingle service at St James’ church on Sunday 20th December at 4.00pm. There will be space for a maximum of 50 children with their parents. We shall need the following items:
50+ red elastic bands
200 cocktail sticks
50 paper bags
50 small squares of foil
During the week beforehand, we shall need people to put these various items into the bags so that the children can assemble their own Christingle in the pews during the service. (I already have the candles!) Can anyone help out with any of this? Offers to Rev Susan, please!