United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
27th September 2020: 16th Sunday after Trinity
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.
Please DO NOT take your service sheet away with you!
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: examples of good neighbours and kindness; the marriage of Blake Reeves and Michelle Crabb yesterday
Pray for: those fearing the end of the furlough scheme; wedding couples unable to reorganise their weddings before the new government regulation changes.
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:
Please pray for: Grace Lane and family; 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
Give thanks for: Ena and Brenda’s new homes
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
COLLECT FOR THE 16th SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Lord of creation,
whose glory is around and within us:
open our eyes to your wonders,
that we may serve you with reverence
and know your peace at our lives’ end,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Exodus 17 : 1-7
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2The people quarrelled with Moses, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moses said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?’ 3But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?’ 4So Moses cried out to the Lord, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.’ 5The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.’ Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’
GOSPEL READING Matthew 21 : 23-32
23 When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ 24Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” 26But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ 27So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28 ‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” 29He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
A new minister stood outside the Church greeting members of the congregation as they left Church after the service. Most of the people were very generous telling him just how much they enjoyed his message.
Except for one elderly man, who said it was boring and very dull. A few moments later the same man came and shook hands with the minister and said “I don’t think you did much preparation for your message.”
Again the old man left and then reappeared muttering, “You really blew it, you didn’t have a thing to say.”
Finally the minister said to one of the Elders that the old man didn’t like his sermon. The Elder said, “O don’t worry about him – he tends to be confused and goes around listening to everyone’s conversations and then repeats all that he has just heard other people saying.”
Even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe in him (Matt 21 : 32)
Ten years ago, two very different headlines claimed our attention in the British newspapers. The front pages carried the news of the government’s threatened spending cuts; and the back pages told us of the threatened departure of Wayne Rooney from Manchester United football team.
You may know or remember, Rooney received his pay rise, and Manchester United kept their man.
But in the heat of the moment, Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s manager, was quoted as saying, “We have the right staff, the right manager. There is not a thing that is wrong with it.” Those were the words of a man who was justifiably proud of his achievements on behalf of his club and was not prepared to accept criticism, either open or implied, from one of its leading players.
The ‘misunderstanding’ soon ended with smiles and a warm embrace for the photographers.
What and how it was resolved we shall never know, however, what we do know is that there was the challenge to authority by Wayne Rooney, secondly Manchester United marshalled its defences in the person of Alex Ferguson and thirdly there was a guarded acceptance of the situation and a reluctance to change the club’s stated position.
In today’s Gospel reading, we see the same dynamic at work in confrontation between Jesus and the chief priests and leaders of the people. They interrupted Jesus’ teaching in the Temple to demand, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’
Jesus, it seems was making a direct challenge to their authority. But he headed off a confrontation… something that Wayne Rooney was unable or unwilling to do… by refusing to answer the question directly. Instead he posed a question of his own. “Did the baptism of John come from heaven or was it of human origin?” After much discussion, having weighed up all the ramifications, the Jewish leaders could only make the reluctant reply, “We don’t know.”
Seizing the initiative, Jesus presents them with a parable of the man with two sons whom he had asked to go and work in his vineyard. One said he wouldn’t, but did. The other said he would, but didn’t. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” Jesus asked.
The Jewish leaders had no option but to answer, “The first.” But in answering they inevitably endorsed the decision of the young man who had changed his mind. It was something they were reluctant to do because they would then be condemning themselves for their unwillingness to change.
Sadly, little seems to have changed over the years when we look at the life of our Church. ‘By schisms rent asunder, goes the old hymn. (The Church’s one foundation verse 3) What was apparent in the late nineteenth century when the hymn was written has often become real in the twenty-first.
The same question posed by the Jewish leaders to Jesus, “By what authority?” has so often led to defensive and entrenched positions in our own day. Yet some of the trenches still preserved from World War l show that, in places, the opposing armies were literally only a few yards apart, near enough for soldiers on both sides to develop a degree of mutual respect and tolerance.
But what was possible between opposing sides on occasions in wartime seems too often to be beyond the reach of Christian people in our own day. The possibility of changing one’s mind appears to be excluded.
Not surprisingly, this applies equally to us as individuals. A strong character is usually someone with fixed opinions, unlikely to change his or her mind. The stronger the argument against the person, the more determined he or she becomes.
By contrast, others, more open and aware, weigh up the pros and cons of a situation. They are unlikely to impose themselves upon us.
Jesus’ question, “Which of the two did the will of the father?” suggests that unswerving certainty may not always be the best option.
Our Christian belief, is as valid now as in the past. Yet our faith is, and must be, always evolving, responding to the demands of a changing world. To change our minds is not to deny Christ or to display weakness. On the contrary, it affirms that we are alive, resilient, and alert to the call of God, trusting and committing the future to him! Amen.
INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Rev Mike Exell)
We pray for true freedom for ourselves and to inspire others to freedom through Christ.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We pray for everyone who is in chains, be they physical, emotional or spiritual. We pray for their release, through Christ.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We ask God to draw us together as a worshipping community, and pray for the Church, in its work to achieve liberty for itself and the world.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
Lord, in whom we find true freedom, thank you for the example of great men and women, saints who have gone before us. Guide us, Lord, in the footsteps of Christ, the supreme example.
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:
you have taught us through your Son
that love is the fulfilling of the law:
grant that we may love you with our whole heart
and our neighbours as ourselves;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.
Both churches will be celebrating Harvest Festival NEXT WEEK on 4th October so please bring along tinned and packaged food if you can, which we can pass to the Food Bank. It is particularly important this year as many people are facing acute shortages. Urgently needed this coming month are:
· POTATOES, TINNED
· SPAGHETTI, TINNED
· CUSTARD, TINNED
· CARROTS, TINNED
· MIXED VEGETABLES, TINNED
· PEAS, TINNED (not mushy)
· HAND WASH / GEL
· LAUNDRY TABLETS / POWDER
Thanks to people’s generosity, they DO NOT WANT cereal, baked beans, pasta, soup, jams and spreads, cooking sauces, rice, tomatoes (tinned).
Thank you in advance for supporting this very necessary service.
ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ
The café at St Mildred’s is open from 10.00am – 4.00pm, 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. Refreshments are available after Sunday worship.
Beryl’s funeral will take place at the crematorium on Wednesday 30th September at 2.15pm. Due to Covid-19 regulations, it will largely be family who attend, but it is hoped to have a memorial service for her at a later date. Meanwhile, as part of the funeral arrangements, I would be grateful for any memories you would like to share with me regarding Beryl’s involvement with the church before my arrival here. If you would like to contribute, please send items to my email address: revspaterson or drop a note through my door. Thank you! Rev Susan
The APCMs have been delayed this year because of the lockdown, but provisionally are now set for the following dates:
St Mildred’s ~ 7.00pm on Tuesday 20th October
St James’ ~ 7.00pm on Thursday 22nd October
To comply with social distancing, each will take place in the relevant church rather than in the hall. It is hoped to produce reports in advance so that the meetings can be kept short, as masks will be required.
24-7 PRAYER ROOM
The 24-7 prayer room will be operating for a week beginning on Thursday 8th October in St James’ church hall. We shall be launching off with a service in church at 6.00pm, at which you will be able to try out some of the prayer ideas, and Archdeacon Peter will be our guest preacher.
How do I take part?
It will be possible to book a slot online, or by phoning Rev Susan to arrange your initial hour.
How to book online: Easy – just click the following link and choose your time! The sooner you sign up, the greater the chances of getting your preferred time slot!
Please come and explore this opportunity to get God’s attention – and pass the word on to anyone else you know who might be interested.
Once you have arrived at the hall, knock on the door to be let in, as we shall ask everyone to keep themselves safe by having the door locked during prayer times. This is also to stop anyone barging in and disturbing the person at prayer. Ideally, we ask you to book as individuals, rather than with other people: the exception is if you are in need of physical support (e.g. disabled issues). The point is that there are no distractions by way of chatting that might get in the way of focussing on God.
It sounds rather daunting: what on earth will I do for a whole hour?
The hall will be set up with all sorts of different prayer resources, from simple candles and books, to guided meditations and water for placing pebbles. There will be music if you want it, tea and coffee and biscuits, comfortable spaces, art stations where you can try your hand at different kinds of art, from simple colouring to water colours. Not forgetting posters and other visual stimuli and a board on which to pin your individual prayers or poems. Whatever you do in that hour is up to you.
How will I be protected from Covid issues?
Everyone will need to sanitise their hands on entry, and there will be more sanitiser available at points round the hall to clean your hands after you have touched different prayer stations. At the end of your session, we ask you to move whichever chairs you have sat on to one specified side of the hall, so that they are not used again until a few days later. There will be a wipeable comfy chair or two, so please use a wet wipe to clean that as well if you use it. Before leaving, please also wipe over the toilet if you have used it so that the next person can be assured of cleanliness. Leave all used wipes in the designated bin, which will be regularly emptied.
What if I get into any difficulty?
There will be a mobile phone in the hall especially for emergencies so that you can phone for help.
Please feel free to talk to Rev Susan if you think anything has been overlooked!