United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

6th June 2021 : First Sunday after Trinity

The vicar celebrated the resumption of coffee after the service….

CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

As we are now allowed to gather in groups of 6 or less indoors, there will be coffee and tea available in the Parish Centre itself at St Mildred’s after the Sunday service!

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=4GPmYgH_Sck

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

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: wealthy philanthropists helping to fund the Covid vaccines worldwide; medical researchers; all NHS staff and volunteers; hospital and hospice chaplains, especially Janet and Julia, our local chaplains

Pray for: Boris and Carrie Johnson; the people and Government of India; all suffering acute hardship

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Beryl; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Oliver; Thabani Maposa and family; Maureen; Chrissie; Catherine; Marie and family

Give thanks for: new births;

If you wish particular names to be added to the prayer list, please inform Rev Susan. All names are 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. The deadline is Wednesday 30th June.

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Jenny Abbott

Jenny passed away on Monday 17th May, peacefully at home. Our condolences go to Mike and family. The funeral date will be announced in due course: there has been a delay due to the need for an inquest.

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COLLECT FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

God of truth,

help us to keep your law of love

and to walk in ways of wisdom,

that we may find true life

in Jesus Christ your Son.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING 2 Corinthians 4 : 13- 5 : 1

13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—‘I believed, and so I spoke’—we also believe, and so we speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

5For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

GOSPEL Mark 3 : 20-end

20The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. 21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ 22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 23And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

28 ‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— 30for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’

31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ 33And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

ADDRESS

Imagine for a moment that we are back in the time of Jesus, and that – perhaps astonishingly – he is staying at your house. At first, of course, you are hugely honoured and humbled. You bring out the best china, the best food and wine you can conjure up, and invite your friends to come and meet your honoured guest. Maybe you even rearrange the bedrooms to give him the best room. But of course it doesn’t stay in this exalted social mood of celebration. It’s not so very long before a whole crowd of very disreputable people indeed turn up and clamour to be let in. A disorderly queue forms down your road. People don’t behave all that well, and your neighbours can’t even park their donkeys outside their own homes, let alone get inside the house. That your house seems to be a riotous party day in, day out, doesn’t seem to help. Of course, if we added a few modern-day inconveniences such as the social media and squads of journalists and television crews, it would be even worse. So while we might, when we read today’s gospel, be slightly shocked that Jesus’ own family turn up and hope to get him away because the poor chap has clearly lost his mind, it perhaps isn’t so hard to understand their thinking. Or perhaps Mary thinks that, as his mother, she can cut through the crowds and get indoors, jumping the queue of his deluded supporters: who knows? She is in for a shock – Jesus doesn’t allow human family ties to distract him from his mission. There is no family claim that can outrank anyone else’s claim for his attention. ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ … ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

Now to us that sounds incredibly rude and hurtful. Poor Mary! She is still on a learning curve: she cannot hope to control the one who is working in the power of the Spirit, any more than we can. But to see the words of Jesus as being designed to hurt would be wrong. They are words of extreme grace, a sign of that boundless love of God, that anyone who does the will of God is seen as being an adopted sister, brother, even mother. It says something of God’s inclusivity, not of any exclusivity.

And it is entirely in keeping with the words Mark attributes to Jesus earlier on in the passage, with the warning about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Nowadays we think of blasphemy as being connected with words, or with a visual representation of something holy, but that is more of a surface indication of something deeper and far more serious. Yes, religions get offended if people poke fun at them – which can make sermon-writing a bit harder, sometimes! – but the sin of blasphemy is a wider concept than that. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the one sin that can never be forgiven, and we should rightly fear it. But what is it, exactly?

In our passage today, Jesus has been accused of casting out the demons by Beelzebul, and his answer is a masterly put down. Yes, the accusation is blasphemous, given that they have seen him perform miracles. But what is unforgivable is to see the work of the Holy Spirit in action and to wilfully deny that it is of God – and indeed, in this case to claim it as the devil’s work. Deliberately and knowingly working against God is by its very nature an act of blasphemy.

Now there are a lot of folk in the world who accidentally or through ignorance work against God, and a prime example would be, perhaps, St Paul, who went about persecuting the early church. But that wasn’t because he hated God: it was because he misunderstood the Spirit and he was acting according to the letter of the Law. It was a different case for the Pharisees, who could actually see wonderful miracles happening and chose to shut their eyes to them and try to prevent them. It comes down to personal knowledge: they deliberately ignored the promptings of the Holy Spirit for their own ends. While they were intent on doing that, they put themselves beyond forgiveness. It’s no good blaming God for not being wiling to forgive: forgiveness cannot be forced onto anyone because we have always got the free will to reject it. So by working against the Holy Spirit, we condemn ourselves. Maybe that is what hell actually is – the determination to live according to principles that are counter to God’s character of love, compassion, kindness and all the other attributes we are capable of. By contrast, to do the will of God is to become Jesus’ sister, brother or mother.

I bet you’re all thinking, “Well, that’s cleared all that up.” Well – yes, maybe so. But it is still good to be reminded by Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, about the nature of grace, and the love of God that underpins our lives as Christians. Because complacency, thinking we have got every box ticked and that we can control that grace in any way, is the first step towards not recognising when God is actually very active here and now. While we are unlikely consciously to reject God’s purposes for us, we are very likely to fail to notice the prompting of the Holy Spirit and to resist changes that God wills us to make in our lives. Maybe it’s that piece of advice that we ignore because it is inconvenient. Maybe it’s that kind deed that puts us out a bit. Maybe it’s something harmless in itself that could become a bad habit. But if we counter those temptations to spiritual deafness with prayer, then we provide a channel for the Holy Spirit to be at work in our lives. But that is a sermon for another day.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

We take inspiration from St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, one of the readings set for today.

Lord, in the midst of so much change in the Church, as we seek a new Bishop of Portsmouth and the renewal of the church through pastoral reorganisation, we ask you to renew also the soul of the Church. May your Holy Spirit guide us as we seek to incorporate new insights, while not losing sight of eternal truths. Inspire us to work together in unity as the Body of Christ for the coming of your Kingdom.

We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We pray once again for the troubled areas of the Middle East. We ask you now to be with the people in the midst of their present sufferings, and to give them hope for their future.

As we remember the recent grief of our Queen, we thank you, Lord, for the ability our monarchy has shown to renew itself and adapt to changes in society, while still upholding traditional values. As the pace of these changes seems to increase with every passing day, help us to draw strength from your eternal changelessness.

Give wisdom to all in authority; and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace; that we may honour one another and seek the common good.

We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We bring before you our local community and pray specially for our schools as the second half of term begins. Bless those who care for students of all ages, especially special needs staff and classroom assistants. We thank you for all the extra work done during the coronavirus troubles and pray for all who have chosen to home school their children, that they might have resilience, creativity and the ability to offer a sound education to their children. We also pray for all children at risk in the home, and for the work of social services, facing so many cuts to their funding.

We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit.

We pray especially for those named on this pew sheet, for those who have nobody to pray for them, for the lonely and isolated, and all with mental health problems.

Give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy of your salvation. We pray with St Paul that they do not lose heart but may be spiritually renewed day by day. We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We thank you, Lord, that what looks like death to the caterpillar looks like new birth to the butterfly. As St Paul says, if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. We commend into your hands all those who have been through this metamorphosis.

We remember in particular Jenny Abbott, praying for Mike and the rest of the family.

We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen.

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise him, all creatures here below;

Praise him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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 Father,

we thank you for nourishing us

with these heavenly gifts:

may our communion strengthen us in faith,

build us up in hope,

and make us grow in love;

for the sake of 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 243 Immortal love.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 66 Bread is blessed and broken.MOV

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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

Bubble bath

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 – 4.00pm. Please contact Sue Richmond (297883) for up to date details! The church is again open for visitors from during café hours.

TEDDY CLUB – COMING SOON!

Teddy Club will resume on Thursday mornings after half-term, on 10th June 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

Advance notice: Waitrose have shortlisted Teddy Club as one of their three community appeal recipients in August. We are very hopeful that we will be accepted, so we will keep you posted.

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.

ST JAMES’ BOOK OUTREACH

We have a number of books from the library, which we are planning to offer as a “Browsers’ Library” at St James’ on a Saturday morning, possibly offering coffee/tea as well. We are also considering selling a few jigsaws, maybe some pot plants, maybe a children’s storytelling slot as well. All ideas welcome! If you would like to offer to help out at this new community venture, please have a word with either Margaret Prior ( 07849 191817) or Gillian Jackson (01983 281633). We have yet to finalise arrangements and set a start date, but do come on board and let’s see what we can do!

VACCINATION CENTRE VOLUNTEERING

Amanda Collinson (Assistant Area Dean) writes:

With many of the volunteers returning to work, IW Community Action are now looking for new people to help out with the Vaccination Centre at the Riverside in Newport. All you need to commit is 4 hours a week and its great fun working with an awesome group of people! It’s been the best thing I have done all year…..

Please do look at the website below and sign up if you can and support your local community!

https://www.communityactionisleofwight.org.uk/signup/

Alternatively phone Community Action IW on 01983 524 058 for full information. – Rev Susan

ROYAL SCHOOL OF CHURCH MUSIC

Today is RSCM Music Sunday, and a special online service is being prepared…. This will be live-streamed on YouTube from the magnificent Lichfield Cathedral at 6pm (BST). BBC Songs of Praise will also be featuring RSCM’s Music Sunday on their programme, where they will be exploring the power of music in worship.