United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

16th May 2021 Seventh Sunday of Easter

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Four disciples…but will the real Matthias please stand up? These are all allegedly images of St Matthias, (chosen to replace Judas), whose day we celebrated on Friday. But was he surprised or dismayed? And was he a scholar, an evangelist, a successful candidate (seen here checking the voting numbers) or an avid diarist? Take your pick!

CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

As we are allowed to gather in groups of 6 or less outdoors, there will be coffee and tea available in the Parish Centre garden at St Mildred’s after the Sunday service if the weather remains suitable!

Meanwhile the diocesan website www.portsmouth.anglican.org still 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. You must do whatever feels right and safe for you.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Previous services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVSctvWxFgk

Today’s service will appear on YouTube later this week.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: community agencies and facilities; the benefits of modern communications technology

Pray for: the people of Palestine; all involved with ongoing Brexit arrangements; the people of Scotland as they consider a referendum

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Oliver; Rita; Stuart; Thabani Maposa and family; Paul and family; James; Maureen; Chrissie; Jill; Catherine; victims of domestic abuse

Give thanks for: the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions; the return of visitors to the island

If you wish particular names to be added to the prayer list, please inform Rev Susan. All names will be reviewed on a monthly basis. Please keep Rev Susan updated if you would like a name to stay on the list beyond the current month.

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All have died in India without a vaccination programme or sufficient hospital care

COLLECT FOR THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Risen, ascended Lord,

as we rejoice at your triumph,

fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,

that all who are estranged by sin

may find forgiveness and know your peace,

to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 1 : 15-17, 21-end

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said, 16‘Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’ 23So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24Then they prayed and said, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

GOSPEL John 17 : 6-19

Jesus continued, 6 ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

ADDRESS

If I said to you, “What is eternal life?” I wonder what images would flash through your minds? Maybe some vision of heaven, replete with angels, and maybe with familiar faces whose earthly life is over. Maybe (for gardeners) a perfect garden, peaceful and beautiful, where death no longer exists. Or maybe you might imagine the heavenly city, new Jerusalem, paved with gold and fragrant with incense rather than the city fumes we are accustomed to. Those are all the sorts of things we associate with heaven, relying on bible imagery, and maybe with a God sitting there judging us all.

But we are guilty of making eternal life something rather different from what Jesus describes in today’s gospel reading. For one thing, it is quite clear from Jesus’ words that eternal life is not something solely confined to the future, when this earthly life is over. He says, a little earlier than today’s passage: 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

Knowing God and Jesus is something that happens now, not just after we have died. So to know God is to have that eternal life now, not just as a gift in store for the future. I think it is important to remind ourselves of that fact, because all too often we assume that somehow we have to get through this life and then, as a reward for good behaviour, God will give us a better one in heaven. I don’t think it actually works quite like that. The earliest biblical writers said no such thing. Eternal life starts the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, in this life. It is in Jesus that the whole coming together of the temporal and the eternal happens, and it is his death that seals the deal, as it were. That is the gateway which is suddenly opened up to us, not in some distant future beyond the grave, but here and now.

The thing about gateways is that they are two-way traffic. The fullness of God came into the world through the incarnation, and the fullness of humanity flowed back through that gateway into heaven when Jesus died for us, rose again and ascended to take his place in glory. In his train come all who follow him: but that doesn’t mean we have to wait until we die to experience eternal life, because we all know that Jesus Christ is not now some remote figure beyond our reach, but active and present in the lives of Christians across the world now as well. “The Lord is here” we say, “His Spirit is with us”.

If we read further into chapter 17 of John’s gospel we hear Jesus saying things like they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world and18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. We have a clear calling to be in the world but not of it, and to be imitators of Christ. Yet so often we don’t respond to that calling, which is a calling to put Christ first in our lives and to re-orientate ourselves to follow him. By Jesus we have been set free from all the constraints that the world puts upon us, and yet we don’t seem very keen to accept that freedom and choose for ourselves a better way than the world has chosen. Paul had regularly to remind his churches that they had put off the old ways because they were living a resurrection life, and we know only too well how easy it is to slip back into those old patterns. That’s when the church ceases to be distinctive and offer a real challenge: we have found it easier to go along with the gods of this age, who demand so much less of us and falsely promise so much by way of physical wellbeing, power, money, and so on. No wonder Jesus prayed that his Father would protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. We often fall short of that ideal of being set apart by God for his purposes, and the technical word for that falling short is sin. Maybe we should spell it with a capital S to differentiate between it and the other sins that happen as a consequence of rejecting God’s call: murder, theft, covetousness, and the whole list that Paul cites in his letters to the Corinthians.

So it would seem that what is needed is a renewal, some sort of revival in our spiritual lives to bring us back to our task of getting hold of the eternal life we have been offered. So it’s good that Pentecost is on the horizon, a great celebration of God’s Spirit, sweeping into the Church and firing us up for mission. We are being sent out into the world to proclaim God’s love, and at a time when the world is desperate for more love, more compassion, to hear good news instead of disastrous news, and to question the distribution of wealth, the roots of power and the treatment of the poorest in the world. That’s a fabulous time for the church to shine with God’s love and make a real difference. So let’s pray ardently for the gift of Holy Spirit and open ourselves up to the eternal life that God longs for us to have, not at some distant date in the future, but right here and right now.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(Supplied by Robert Hall)

Heavenly Father, As the country comes to the next lockdown phase, we ask you to guide us all in thinking of others, and ourselves, as we go about our daily lives. Make us aware that there are still dangers around and to respect the rules and advice so that we all help to support each other, helping out where necessary and making sure that those less able than ourselves keep safe and well.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we ask you to support and guide every religion, give all of them strength and wisdom. We, at this time, especially ask you to guide the Palestinian and Israeli leaders so that they can stop this war in which so many innocent people and children are killed.

We also think of the shooting in Russia where children were killed and some teachers died trying to protect their children.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, at this time as our diocese looks for a new Bishop, give wisdom and strength to those that are having to select them. We also ask you to support Archdeacon Peter, Rev Susan, Associate priests Mike and Pete, and our Churchwardens Rose, Colin, Peter and Robin, as they all go about your work in our Parish.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we think of all those people who have had to leave their countries because of famine, war, natural disasters. Give them protection as they go about lives, keep them safe and let them have food to eat and shelter to live in. We hope that they, one day, maybe able to return to their homeland. We also ask you to keep safe and well all the charities and their workers who are helping them at the moment.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we think of all the people who have passed away recently, as well as all those that have died in this pandemic. We also remember those whose anniversary falls at this time.. … Let us all think of those who we can no longer see but know that are with you in the Heavenly House.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, as we all go about our daily lives, please protect us so that we all can return to all our loved ones at the end of the day. We especially ask you to protect those whose jobs bring them into conflict and danger and that are protecting all of us, and those who are helping poorly people on the way to recovery.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

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:

Eternal God, giver of love and power,

your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world

to preach the gospel of his kingdom:

confirm us in this mission,

and help us to live the good news we proclaim;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 309 Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 156 Give us the wings of faith.MOV

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INTERCESSORS

We have a shortage of people willing to lead the intercessions at St James’ church. If you are interested, please have a word with Rev Susan. Training and help is available to get you going!

FOOD BANK MOST NEEDED ITEMS THIS MONTH

The Foodbank would be most grateful for any of the following:

Sponge pudding

Cooking oil

Gravy

Part-baked bread (at least 2 weeks’ shelf life)

Tinned mixed vegetables (NOT sweetcorn or mushy peas)

Cleaning products (kitchen/bathroom)

Toothbrushes (single)

Washing capsules/powder

Female and male deodorant

Shaving foam/gel

Bubblebath

Tampons

Thanks to the generosity of the public they have plenty of: cooking sauces, baked beans, tinned soup/meat/fish, biscuits, cereal, pasta, rice, tea).

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The Café is now open on Mondays to Thursdays from 10.00am – 3.00pm. Please contact Sue Richmond (297883) for up to date details! The church will again be open for visitors from tomorrow, Monday 17th May.

TEDDY CLUB – COMING SOON!

Teddy Club will resume on Thursday mornings after half-term, as the lockdown restrictions are easing. We are grateful to those who regularly volunteer: if anyone else would like to do so, please have a word with Jean Kirby or Beryl Harrison.

We look forward to other community groups restarting as soon as is viable with the changing regulations.

WAITROSE COMMUNITY APPEALS

It is anticipated that Waitrose will be naming Teddy Club as one of their three community appeal recipients, so do look out for the tokens boxes when you go shopping and drop a green disc into the Teddy Club box to vote for us!

ST MILDRED’S APCM

St Mildred’s APCM will be on Sunday 20th June after the morning service. To accommodate this, the service will be held at 10.00am instead of the regular 11.15am time. It should be possible by then to hold the APCM in the parish centre with a cup of coffee on hand.

NEXT WEEK’S SERVICES

Rev Susan will be away next week following her mother’s funeral on Thursday. We are grateful to both our retired clergy for taking the morning services: Rev Peter Hutchinson will be at St James’, and Rev Mike Exell at St Mildred’s. Please wear something red if you possibly can, to celebrate the fire of Pentecost!

In the afternoon at 3.00pm we welcome Dolcie Robyn Star Lake into the church family at St James’ (Rev Susan will be back!): please pray for her and her parents, Connor and Harriet, as they take this significant step in faith.