United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

8th August 2021 : Transfiguration (transferred)

CURRENT AND FUTURE WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

New government Covid rules are now in force, and we are reverting to our previous pattern of services – although we feel that Café Church could be a step too far as yet. New C of E guidance is also available for us, but as things stand, please continue to be vigilant and to observe social distancing measures at all times. With the summer season, cases on the island are increasing, and we need to maintain due caution, especially remembering that to have had two vaccinations does not stop people from carrying the virus. Currently there is no guidance on resuming use of the chalice, so please be patient!

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=J2kNADnUL2s

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: the blessings of every day; our Area Dean, Steve Daughtery; family and friends

Pray for: diocesan plans for reorganising the churches; all struggling with fear and anxiety as the Covid regulations change; the forthcoming Jigsaw Festival

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Reg and Eileen; Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Beryl; Joy and Dave; Maureen; Margaret Perkins; Paul and family; Deanna and family; William and family; Gemma; Sheila Dunn

Give thanks for: church music and musicians

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.

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All Covid victims and their surviving families

*************

COLLECT FOR THE TRANSFIGURATION

Father in heaven,

whose Son Jesus Christ was wonderfully transfigured

before chosen witnesses upon the holy mountain,

and spoke of the exodus he would accomplish at Jerusalem:

give us strength so to hear his voice and bear our cross

that in the world to come we may see him as he is;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING Daniel 7 : 9-10, 13-14

9 As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
and an Ancient One took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousand served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgement,
and the books were opened.

13As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
and was presented before him.
14 To him was given dominion
and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
that shall never be destroyed.

GOSPEL Luke 9 : 28-36

28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. 34While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ 36When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

ADDRESS

Friday marked the actual Feast of the Transfiguration and Jesus’ meeting with Elijah and Moses on the mountain top, when, as we have just heard, his face and clothes shone radiant white and a voice was heard from the cloud telling the three disciples to listen to Jesus. So rather than miss the whole mountain top experience, we have transferred it to today, because it has something valuable to say to us.

What is it about mountains that exercises such a powerful attraction? Mount Everest has become such a magnet for climbers that they are considering closing it off to prevent a sort of extreme tourism taking place. Perhaps it is the solidity and awesomeness of such a mass of stone and ice. You don’t argue with a mountain. It is simply there, majestic and dangerous, and presumably those who climb mountains are motivated partly by a rebellious instinct that wants to control and dominate and can’t bear to be beaten by anything or anyone. Mountains speak of the human need to be on top and to conquer. They may be places for profound spiritual encounters, but one thing is certain: you can’t live there for ever.

That’s why all the stories featuring mountains are about people travelling to them or seeking them out as refuges. They are not places of long-term comfort: you can’t put down roots because ultimately nothing much grows on the top of a mountain.

But if mountains are generally places to avoid the pressures of life, temporary destinations on a journey, valleys are places of abundant life and busyness. That is where villages and towns spring up, where crops grow and people live everyday lives. It’s good to get away from all that sometimes, but it is in that sort of context that we develop as people who communicate with each other and learn to struggle along as communities. Practical faith is tested far more in the social context than it ever is in the exalted heights. And there is a moral for our churches to be learned.

Going to church is a bit like going up a mountain. It’s a place where we can escape from the pressures of daily life and gain some respite. A place to renew our faith, yes, but far more than that. We can’t stay up the mountain, in that rarified atmosphere. But our experience of worship should be such as to resource us for the days ahead. Sunday worship is the tip of the iceberg of Christian living – far more goes on in the weekdays than happens on a Sunday. What we need to do is to take our experience of God’s presence on a Sunday out into our daily living. And the more we put into our Sunday worship, the better will be our strength for those days ahead. We put our energy into resourcing ourselves so that we can go out and bear fruit. Conversely, the less we put into our worship, the less strength we shall draw out of it. A gymnasium, after all, is only useful for physical fitness if we engage with it and use the equipment. If we just use it as a social space, we shan’t find much physical benefit. And if we just use church as a social space, we shan’t gain much spiritual maturity from our time spent here.

And that is why communion is so important to a worship community. In communion, we are not only receiving physically and symbolically the very Word of life that draws us up into the Godhead, but we are strengthening the whole Christian community through our common meal. So there is both a vertical and a horizontal aspect to our worship. And there is more, because the sacrament of communion is eternal. It extends back to the very first Christians, now celebrating in heaven, and it projects forward to the end of time itself as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet in the Kingdom of God. I would go further and say that even that is to put limits on it: because clearly those born before the Incarnation aren’t excluded from God’s grace. Such is the miracle that we take so casually every week.

Miracles and mountain top experiences are by definition rare events. Far more often we don’t see Jesus in a blinding light at all, and God feels very remote. Communion reminds us of a reality that we cannot see, a greater truth that is often obscured by the treadmill of life where it is far harder to draw close to God. That’s why Jesus often took his disciples away from the crowds, to lonely places, where they could recover and have what you might call a Sabbath time together. It wasn’t for sheer pleasure: it had a purpose. Those special experiences of God are sent to give us confidence and hope, just as they were for the disciples, who eventually would face huge dangers and difficulties in their lives. As we now face huge dangers and difficulties ourselves, maybe we should remind ourselves of that presence of God that transfigured Jesus and pray that we too might sense something of that in our worship, be it in church or wherever we feel closest to God. I think Jesus knew himself to be loved and strengthened for his crucifixion and glory on that mountain top : and I pray that we too might reflect that love and empowerment as in our turn we venture off the mountain and back into the plains of everyday life this week.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS

And while he was praying the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.” (Luke 9.29)

Lord Jesus, as we pray to you this morning help us to know the glory of your presence among us and to see more clearly the beauty of your holiness.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

Suddenly they saw Moses and Elijah, talking to him.” (Luke 9.30)

Lord Jesus, you are the fulfilment of the law and the prophets of Israel and in you the hopes and fears of all people are met. Give us grace to receive from you all that we need for today and the coming week. Bring rest and refreshment when we’re exhausted; hope and faith when we’re despondent and doubt you; and the assurance of your love and forgiveness when we’re overwhelmed by our own weaknesses and failures.

Inspire your church today with a renewed vision of your glory so that we and all your people may walk as children of light and, by your grace, reveal your presence in the world.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

To Jesus are given dominion and glory and kingship that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him.” (based on Daniel 7.14)

Lord Jesus, we pray to you for the life of this nation with its joys, its sorrows and its wrongdoing.

We pray for all those who are involved in the administration of justice. Give wisdom to all those who are in authority over others especially members of the police force, those who sit in judgment, prison and probation officers and those who support the victims of crime.

We pray for all who walk in the darkness of crime whether as perpetrators or as victims living in the shadow of the wrong done to them. Reveal among them your glory and power to bring resurrection and new life out of even the deepest evils and sufferings.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

They saw his glory and heard a voice that said ‘This is my Son, my chosen, listen to him’” (Luke 9.parts of vv32&35)

Lord Jesus, as we go about our daily routines this week help us to see your glory in the people we work with, our neighbours and friends and in those we fear or find hard to get on with. In all our conversations help us to listen carefully not only to what others are saying but also to what you are saying in each encounter.

We pray for the young people of our community who are on holiday from school or college. Keep them in safety and be a strengthening presence in those families where the holidays bring difficulties in coping and put additional strain on relationships.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9.31)

Lord Jesus, you know what it is to experience the joy and wonder of God’s presence and then to go down into the depths of despair and to suffer rejection and pain.

In a moment of silent prayer we give thanks for your compassion and bring to you the needs of those who are in our thoughts and hearts today.

Help them and us to know that you are with us when we descend from the mountain top and that although your presence may be hidden from us you are still there with the power to bring comfort and healing of body, mind and spirit.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

They appeared in glory” (Luke 9.31a)

Lord Jesus, we pray for those who are now with you in your eternal glory. As we rejoice in the fellowship of those who now see the fullness of your glory, be with us in our journey and transform our lives with the promise that you will grant us, with them, a share in your eternal kingdom.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy
hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we give you thanks and praise because the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour and the majesty belong to you and you reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. 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:

Holy God,

we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ:

may we who are partakers at his table

reflect his life in word and deed,

that all the world may know his power to change and save.

This we ask 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\Christ be our light (1).MOV

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

PUZZLE WEEK

AT ST JAMES’ EAST COWES

The Jigsaw Puzzle Festival is back this week at St James’, so do please support it, either by visiting or helping. We have no idea how the last 18 months will affect numbers, so the more the merrier. Open every day from 10.00am – 4.00pm and with special late night opening on Wednesday and Thursday, 6.30-8.30pm. Light lunches and refreshments available, and with an admission charge of only £1.50 you can have a ticket that entitles you to return again later in the week to view new puzzles. (Children get in free!) Further information from Rose (01983 294075). This week our Saturday morning stock of books to swap or simply take away is also available in church – but don’t miss out on the books that are also for sale in the hall!

CLARENCE ROAD EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH

Clarries Club recommences on Friday 10th September at 10.30 and will meet fortnightly, starting with a coffee morning. Do support this venture by our neighbours in Christ! Telephone Derek or Myra (717895) for further information.

FRIENDSHIP GUILD

St James’ Friendship Guild is looking for volunteers to lead or act as treasurer to this very worthwhile group as we recommence activities. Talk to Wendy Farrow if you are interested, and see the Jigsaw magazine for details of a special meeting due to happen on 6th October. Lockdown has shown us the value of companionship, and as a church we are very well placed to offer outreach to the lonely as well as sharing our own friendship with each other.

STOP PRESS

Margaret Perkins has now been transferred back toHighfield Nursing Home. Phone calls are as before, but she has now to observe another 14 days in isolation. Do keep her in your prayers!