2020 November 15 - Pew News


This weekend’s worship (15th November 2020)

At 0930 we worship together virtually in a Service of Morning Prayer There is no evening service
Hymn tunes to be played in the morning service are the following.
Those of you ‘present’ at our Zoomed services are always invited to sing along with the hymns, but during our live broadcast act of worship, please take care to ‘mute’ your device’s microphone as you do so!
The presiding minister at our 0930 service is Martin Brown.
The readings in our morning service are from Zephaniah Chapter 1, verse 7 and verse 12 to the end and Matthew Chapter 25: verses 14 to 30.

Martin, our Reader, writes

The early Christians understood the Day of the Lord to mean the Second Coming of Christ. It came from their Jewish upbringing, and as the Gospel spread it soon became a part of their creed. In the Old Testament, the Day of the Lord was understood to be an earth-shattering event when God would intervene in the course of human history and the promised Messiah would come and reign over all creation until the end of time.

The problem was it didn’t happen. The early Christians waited and more or less kept the faith, but the Messiah didn’t appear as they’d expected. They continued to live under Roman occupation and were persecuted by the Jews. The faithful began to die off and this all created a crisis of faith. Was the promised Messiah ever coming?

We’re still wondering today; just like those early Christians. Jesus no longer walks on this earth as
 one of us; but then, He hasn’t yet returned in glory.

So, what are we to do? There are those faithful Christians whose primary mission is to keep the message alive; not to lose the hope that Jesus will return at any moment, and, as far as they’re concerned, that’s what we live for – His imminent return. For many Christians, that’s the primary message of the Gospel – Jesus’ coming. It’s only a matter of time. Prepare to meet the Lord. The problem is it’s hard to keep the excitement going.

At the same time, there are equally faithful Christians who believe the Second Coming has already occurred. They point to Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. For them Jesus’ promise to come again has been fulfilled, only in a different form than was first expected. For them, God is with us here and now, and so, what more could we want?

For these Christians, what’s important is not that we wait for Jesus to return, but that we work
 together for peace and justice in the world today. As far as they’re concerned, God has already given us all we need to establish his kingdom on earth and the rest, is down to us. The promise is we’ll experience the presence of the living Christ along the way.

We have one group of Christians who say, “Jesus is coming,” and another who say, “He’s already here.” What do we say?

Our faith may be summarized in three phrases - “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” We believe in the historical Jesus who lived among us and showed us how to live in community with God and each other, and who died for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe Jesus was raised from the dead and is with us, even now, in the form of the Holy Spirit to lead and inspire us in our mission to reconcile the world to God; and we believe Christ will come again at the end of time to reign in glory over all God’s creation.

We express this faith every time we celebrate Communion when we say: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.”

This is the essence of our faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again, and as for when the Second Coming will occur, Jesus told His disciples: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

In these present times there are those who say this pandemic is a sign the end is near; however no one knows but the Father.

Whenever the end comes, there’s something we need to be clear about, and that is the Day of the Lord isn’t something we ought to be looking forward to as today’s reading from Zephaniah outlines.

The Lord’s coming will expose the sinfulness of our human nature and reveal our many shortcomings.
The Day of the Lord’s return will be a day of reckoning when our lack of vigilance will be exposed – not to condemn us, but to shape us and call us back to the model of perfection found in Jesus Christ.

Nobody knows when the Day of the Lord will come. It could come today. It might not come for another thousand years. In a way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we live each day in preparation for the moment when we’ll be called to account for how we’ve spent our time, used our talents and kept the faith.

That’s what life is all about - living each day as if it were a day of reckoning; so when Christ comes, we won’t have any reason to be afraid. We’ll be able to account for ourselves, and, in the final analysis, Christ will look at our record of faithfulness and say: “Well done, good and trustworthy servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” Amen

With love & best wishes

Worship for the week ahead: (each ‘remotely’ through the medium of ‘Zoom’)

Monday 16th Tuesday 17th Wednesday 18th Thursday 19th Friday 20th
0830 Morning Prayer – Margaret, Queen of Scotland
0830 Morning Prayer – Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln
0830 Morning Prayer – Elizabeth of Hungary, Princess of Thuringia
0830 Morning Prayer – Hilda, Abbess of Whitby
0830 Morning Prayer – Edmund, King of the East Angles


0930 Morning Prayer, with Hymns & Address.
Preacher: Canon David Nason
1800 Evening Prayer via Zoom
Please note: the Rector is off duty on annual leave from Monday 9 December 2020 - try not to contact him in this period on parish matters. Either speak to our Churchwardens or send an email to the Parish Office. Those messages will be passed on to the person who can best deal with them  until Sunday 22 November.


Prayer for the Nation

Our Archbishops are encouraging prayers for our land during the lockdown and have published a suggested schedule (see below). For the most coherence across our community it is suggested our
 prayers could take place at 6pm on each day. The topics encouraged of us are as follows:
SUNDAY: family, friends and loved ones
MONDAY: schools and colleges, children, and young people TUESDAY: the elderly, those who are isolated and vulnerable WEDNESDAY: businesses, the workplace, and economic well-being THURSDAY: the NHS and other key-workers
FRIDAY: national and local governments
SATURDAY: all who are grieving, those suffering with physical and mental health

Our Church bell will be tolled for a short time at 6pm each evening up to the 2nd December as a public reminder and recognition of these prayers.

For more information see the Church of England website or
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/PftN%20Booklet%20spreads.pdf (opens in new window)

Deanery prayer gatherings

In our Deanery, prayer gatherings are held twice a month, and on Saturday, 21 November 2020 at 10am people will gather on Zoom to pray for West Dean Church in the Valley Parish. 

The gatherings are held on the 1st Thursday each month at 12 noon, and the 3rd Saturday at 10am, moving round our Deanery. On Thursday, 3 December 2020 the gathering will be at our Parish church – either inside, outside or via Zoom depending on what is permitted.

General notices regarding provision and access during covid-19

Our Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Westbourne, is open to visitors from 10am-3pm each day (Sunday 12 noon – 3pm). Whilst this remains so, we continue presently to ask all who come to wear face coverings and to write their details on the sheet to help us fulfil our Test and Trace responsibilities. For smartphone users, we now have our own venue QR code which can be used to record your visit. Please enter by the North door, and leave by the West door, using sanitizer on entry and upon leaving. The toilet is not in use.

Our Sunday worship offers a regular ‘Zoomed’ service at 0930. Other weekend services will be notified. Many of our plans presently have to adapt with short notice, so please be patient and understanding of this.

The local church continues to worship through ‘Zoom’ on weekday mornings at 0830 (for half an hour). The Rector will be pleased to add to those names already registered with us and wishing to join these daily acts of worship, however occasionally. Just send him an email.

If there are causes or people that you wish to bring to the attention of the Church and its praying community, please contact Rector or Wardens.

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