23rd August 2020: St Bartholomew (Transferred)

WORSHIP IN AN UNCOMMON SEASON

We are sorry if you missed today’s service! For those who couldn’t get there, our services are a straightforward communion service with no hymns – however, we have some introductory and closing music, as well as some extra music during the service. Communion is offered in one kind, and there is the option of not receiving at all if you feel it is safer for you to let the priest receive on your behalf. Everyone follows the directions of the stewards for going up to receive communion and remain aware of the usual social distancing requirements. Communion is administered in the pews to anyone unable to walk to the altar: if you are thinking of attending and require this, please have a word with the steward on arrival. We are otherwise asked to remain standing to receive the bread.

On leaving the church, service booklets are dropped into the basket by the exit door and we leave by a different door from the way we came in. At St James’ this is via the south door at the front, and at St Mildred’s via the royal chapel.

Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch last week’s worship via the following link:

https://youtu.be/DJYp_UpjHoU

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: all who seek to explore their faith; theological colleges; our diocesan mission and ministry team

Pray for: school leavers; university admissions staff

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Grace Lane (urgent); Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Ena Young; Olivia; Brenda; Stuart; Andrew; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Sarah and colleagues; Beryl Carpenter; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family

Give thanks for: successful operations; carers; Barts Hospital

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Kathleen Marsh

COLLECT FOR ST BARTHOLOMEW

Almighty and everlasting God,

who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace

truly to believe and to preach your word:

grant that your Church

may love that word which he believed

and may faithfully preach and receive the same;

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

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 5 : 12-16

Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.

GOSPEL READING Luke 2 : 24-30

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

ADDRESS

Whoever would be great must be the least.

Jesus’s words sit badly with our modern culture: for us, the greatest is the one with most clout, most money, loudest voice. These are worshipped as infallible idols, and how we cheer when they fall off their pedestals. Because at heart we know that though we might envy them their wealth and power, we don’t love them. We resent them. They may not really be great at all. So who are the real great ones among us? How do we measure greatness?

Perhaps you might think that having most influence – preferably for good – is a measure of greatness. Hmm… look at who is influencing the major countries of the world today. Are they great? Really?

Or you might think being talented makes you great – great writers, composers, artists, etc. Or achieving something remarkable – great statesmen, conquerors, inventors… It turns out that greatness can cover many different aspects of life.

There is an argument that says to be great you have to make the most of your opportunities, carpe diem. But that tends to lead to trampling others underfoot.

Jesus offers us a different perception of greatness, one that doesn’t depend on skill, or being able to manipulate people, or making extravagant claims. And he modelled his whole life on his extraordinary vision of true greatness. He taught his disciples to put aside their own ambitions and to live for the sake of others. He chose to mix not with powerful rich people, but with ordinary folk, even with disreputable folk, people whom the world had no time for. And he knew that those people were the most receptive to the kingdom of God. He didn’t often tell people what to do: he told stories and asked them to draw their own conclusions. "What do YOU think?" "Which one of these was a good neighbour?" And today, "Which of these is greater?"

But today the question is answered. The one sitting at table is greater than the servant. And where is Jesus? Serving. Worse, he says that we should follow his example. He says nothing at all about the worthiness or otherwise of the person sitting at table – he just tells us to serve.

What a different world it would be if everyone treated everyone else as the one sitting at table, regardless of their right or their worthiness. So often the Church has drawn distinctions and been ready to help or serve people it thinks are worthy, while throwing out anyone a bit dodgy. Perhaps they’re dodgy because they are a different social class, or a different religion, or addicted in some way, or too noisy, too uncommitted, too old, too mentally unstable or too many other things that freak us out. Jesus doesn’t seem to think it matters if they’re dodgy. But the Church has to work really hard to shed its image of elitism and prejudice. Yet children can do it without any effort at all.

Today we are commemorating St Bartholomew, who is thought to be the same person as Nathanael. Now we don’t know a huge amount about him from the gospels, but we do know that Jesus referred to him as being "an Israelite in whom there is no guile." A person who had that childlike quality of total trustfulness and honesty. The sort of person who would have no interest in putting himself forward, a real candidate for becoming least in the group.

I wonder how many Bartholomews we have in our church here today? Maybe quite a few. But we can always do with more. The good news is that when we ask God to send us people and we promise to look after them, then he does send them. So, provided we mean it, we should get ready to look after a lot of new folk – and that means being ready to give up some of our own importance so that they can have the places of honour and feel this is their home. I hope that gradually, as the storm of the pandemic settles, we shall find newcomers among us for us to welcome and encourage. Because make no mistake – God is at work among us, and he is certain to go on unsettling us and stirring us up if we will but let him. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Peter Robinson)

We pray for the Church:

Father, you know both our gifts as a congregation and the needs of those in this parish, and we ask you to bless our ministry in this place.

Strengthen and encourage all Church leaders and deepen our faith and sure hope.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for the world:

Father, heal our nation and all the nations of what is in the past and still corrodes the present, so that we may build on good foundations and learn to govern ourselves with honesty, respect for one another and sensitivity to needs.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for our community:

Father, be present in the daily living of our homes and in all our relationships; make us more trustworthy in our friendships, and strengthen our resolve to live our faith in action.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for the sick:

We call to mind all whose capacity to trust has been damaged; for those who are victims of injustice or corruption; for the very young and the very old, the frail, the vulnerable and the bereaved.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for the departed:

We remember those who have completed their earthly life in faith and have now seen you face to face. May they know the peace of eternity; we too look forward to sharing that life of joy.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Thank you, Lord our God for the glorious hope you have set before us.

Merciful Father . . . accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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:

O Lord God, the source of truth and love,

Keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,

United in prayer and the breaking of bread,

And one in joy and simplicity of heart,

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.

NOTICES

MASKS IN CHURCH

Sadly, it is compulsory to wear masks in church, unless you have a medical reason for not wearing one. Nobody is going to ask sensitive questions about this, but if you arrive without one you will be offered one, which we ask you to wear if possible. If you have borrowed a reusable mask, please leave it in a box by the exit so that it can be safely laundered for the following week or keep it for your own regular church use. If you have borrowed a single-use mask, please take it away to dispose of safely.

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The café at St Mildred’s is open from 10.00am – 3.00pm, Mondays to Thursdays. Social distancing is in place, and although it is preferable for folks to eat outdoors, it is perfectly possible to have a table indoors for tea, coffee and cakes. The church is also open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you would like to volunteer and are not on the current lists, please contact Peter Robinson (299230) to be allocated a slot at a suitable time.

Foodbank needs your help!……

These are the items most urgently needed in order of priority for August 2020:

• Shaving gel, Toothbrushes, Shampoo, Shower gel

• Laundry tabs, Washing up liquid

• Male/Female Deodorant

• Instant Coffee

• Rice, plain white or brown

• Tinned Potatoes

If you can help, please buy an extra item when out shopping and either leave it at the supermarket collection point or bring it to church and leave it at the back. Thank you!

CREAM TEAS

A big thank you to Beryl, Sue, Jean and the rest of the team who supplied such lovely cream teas last week at St Mildred’s, also to Jane and Nigel for the lovely music. The next cream teas will be on 13th September, so do put the date in your diary! We can safely accommodate 28 people booked within the hall itself, and more (unbooked) in the gazebos outside. Safer to book than not to! Thanks are also due to Peter for erecting the gazebos!

THANK YOU!

A huge thank you to Hugh Wilson, who has undertaken to film each week’s service at St Mildred’s and edit and upload it onto YouTube for us, enabling us to have an online presence. If the link at the beginning of this pew sheet doesn’t work, you can access the service via the prayer room website:

www.whippinghameastcowesprayerroom.org

PERSONAL THANKS

Thank you to everyone for your good wishes on our ruby wedding anniversary last week. We felt very loved and blessed.

Rev Susan and Charles

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