Sunday 26 September 2021 (Trinity 17)
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Collect for Trinity 17
Almighty God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you: pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself, and so bring us at last to your heavenly city where we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Sunday 26 September 2021 (Trinity 17)
8am Prayer Book Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Mike
9.30am Holy Communion at St Margaret’s with Revd. Graham (leading) and Revd. Mike (preaching)
11am Holy Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Graham
Old Testament: Numbers 11:4-29 (Quail from the Lord)
New Testament: James 5:13-20 (the prayer of faith)
Gospel: Mark 9:38-50 (Jesus’s teaching)
The best way to access the Livestream and audio is through our website where the services are listed in red above (and don’t forget to give David time to get home and put the audio service on his computer). This week’s service will be streamed live on the St Margaret’s Tylers Green Facebook page. Should for any reason the above link doesn’t work then access it from : https://www.facebook.com/St-Margarets-Tylers-Green-154320624626069
Sunday 3 October (Harvest)
8am Prayer Book Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Graham
9.30am Family Service at St. Margaret’s with Revd. Mike (leading) and Mary Lee (preaching)
11am Family Service at Holy Trinity with Revd. Mike (leading) and Mary Lee (preaching)
Old Testament: Genesis 2:18-24 (Creation)
Gospel: Mark 10:10-16 (Little children)
Masks… will not be required during morning services but many may wish to wear one and you should be comfortable in doing so.
On-line … Our on-line services will continue for those who cannot or do not feel able to attend in person.
TYGRE Club, Creche and X Stream have returned, as has G3.
Wednesday Toddler Group has also returned
Obviously, Services and events will be reviewed regularly.
Mid Week Holy Communion will resume at 10am on Thursday, 7 October (the first Thursday of every month) at Holy Trinity followed by refreshments in the Church Hall.
Transport for Buckinghamshire are planning road closures in Witheridge Lane, Penn from 25 September for 4/5 days and then through Saucy Corner to Forty Green – all depending on the weather. Part of the road will be on a traffic lights system and some will be closed from 1 October for 15 days.
Choral Evensong: We are having a Choral Evensong at Holy Trinity on Sunday, 24 October at 4pm. We are looking for members of a choir and if you would like to participate, please contact Gail in the office with your contact details on 813254 or email@example.com. All are welcome.
Wycombe Homeless Connection is looking for enthusiastic, dedicated and skilled people to become Trustees – specifically people that have experience in IT, fundraising, marketing & statutory sector experience. http://wyhoc.org.uk/trustee-recruitment or call 01494 447699
Residents of Forty Green and Knotty Green: Mary Lee would be delighted to see you at the Royal Standard at 8pm on Monday, 27 September
Children’s Corner at Holy Trinity: we are revamping the children’s corner. Does anyone have any Duplo Lego blocks (big pieces) that they no longer need and would like to donate please? Can collect. Zoe Clark 07940 505245
“Thursty Thursdays”: For one month only Revd. Mike’s invitation to the gentlemen of the Parish to meet him in the Red Lion at 8pm will not be on the first Thursday, but on the second Thursday, 14 October.
Harvest Festival is in both churches on Sunday, 3 October. As before, the produce will be going to Wycombe Women’s Aid and they would be very grateful to receive items such as tins or packets that can be stored rather than anything fresh. They have a number of families in their care and are enormously grateful for any help.
Harvest Festival… We will be decorating St. Margaret’s for Harvest on Saturday, 2 October from about 9.30am. If you would like to join in the fun please contact either Corrine on 813747 or Deborah on 445286.
Our Prayer for growth…
God of Mission, who alone brings growth to your Church, send your Holy Spirit to give vision to our planning, wisdom to our actions and power to our witness. Help Holy Trinity and St. Margaret’s to grow in numbers, in spiritual commitment to you and in service to our local community, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PLEASE PRAY FOR…
John Mepham in hospital at this time
The family & friends of Vera Thomas, whose funeral will be on Friday, 8 October at 11.30am at Holy Trinity
Sunday 3 October Harvest Festivals in both Churches (produce goes to Wycombe Women’s Aid)
BIBLE READINGS FOR THE WEEK
Monday 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 Mark 14:1-11
Tuesday 2 Chronicles 10:1 – 11:4 Mark 14:12-25
Wednesday Daniel 12:1-4 Acts 12:1-11
Thursday 2 Chronicles 13:1 – 14:1 Mark 14:43-52
Friday 2 Chronicles 14:2-15 Mark 14:53-65
Saturday 2 Chronicles 15:1-15 Mark 14:66-72
We have a daily Morning Prayer service sheet for those in isolation who might like a time of structured prayer. Click to link
For additional prayers for a wide variety of situations Prayers for use at home may be what you are looking for. Click to link
Other Sunday Services and resources from the Diocese
The Diocese will continue to stream a Sunday communion service at 10am available from the Diocesan Website
If you sense yourself becoming isolated or are feeling particularly lonely, do make sure you do not suffer alone but contact friends or family. They may not be able to visit, but you will feel better for having spoken. Equally, if you know of others who may be in this position, please do make contact to see if you can help. Ask people how they are and wait for an answer.
Reflection… Revd. Mike (26 September)
Last week we were looking at the disciples arguing over who was the greatest in the Kingdom of God and Peter was talking about how we live out putting others first. This week’s gospel follows that with Jesus warning the disciples that just like an athlete who wants to win Olympic you have to be ruthless in offering to the Lord’s refining fire those things that slow us down in the race.
And there is that strange bit about causing little ones to sin and plucking out eyes and tearing off limbs. All sounds a little gruesome.
Firstly, little ones is not exclusively children. The word used can refer to all people, in the broadest sense
Secondly, plucking and tearing off limbs. Some good news and some bad news.
Good news first. Jesus did not mean it literally.
The bad news is that what he was referring to was those precious parts of our personality that we are rather fond of but cause us to stumble. The Lord wishes to excise those failings.
This is where Jesus gets serious. If you play at religion then you will wish to ignore this. If you take Jesus’ words seriously then there are things we need to loose, and loose soon. Tt will be painful. Sacrifices will need to be made as you take up your cross. Maybe taking up cross means curbing your tongue, as we were thinking about a couple of weeks ago and it will be very hard, indeed it may feel like being crucified. All the injustice and pain of not speaking out, for instance.
The point here is that nothing wrong with hands, feet and eyes, They are God given. But somehow in their context they are causing us to sin. What might that be for you? Could be …
– use of time
– what eat or drink
– attitudes or values
– words or thoughts
– what watch or read
Sometimes there may actually be nothing wrong with them in themselves but for you, now, they are unhelpful and they need to go. So you need to – walk away – look away – close it – leave it – turn it off – do not go there – give it away – whatever
This is where spiritual disciplines – praying, fasting, journaling, solitude, meditation and the like help.
The Tokyo Olympics were on recently. The medals the athletes win are not won on the day. They are won 2, 3 or 4 years earlier on all those cold, wet, winter mornings when they got out of bed at 4.30am, put their running kit on and got out to pound the streets before dawn. That is the discipline, that is when they win the gold medal. No one sees those moments.
So with is in our walk with the Lord. For me too. It is on my knees in my study in the vicarage with my Bible open praying and interceding. No one sees that, but that is where the battle is won. Where the parts that cause me to sin are offered to the Lord to cut them out.
And every morning matters. Every commitment changes us slightly. It all adds up.
In last part of passage Jesus refers to salt and fire and the fires of Gehenna. Well the fires were the smouldering rubbish tip just outside the city walls where the rubbish was dumped. There were no landfill sites in those days. The fire and smell were permanent. Jesus may have been meek and mild but that is the picture our loving gracious Lord knowingly used to describe our eternal destiny without Christ. Ouch!
Saltiness. It is lifestyle that is our witness and the good news to our neighbours. It is God’s kingdom right here and now not just when you die. If we are indistinguishable in our lives and attitudes to those around us then we will be perceived as having little to offer them by way of the Good News of the gospel.
Studies in the US, and I suspect it is not much different here, have shown no discernible difference in the lifestyles of churchgoers and non-churchgoers. Christians have as many abortions percentage wise, give less money to the poor, watch as much pornography, and so on. In 70 aspects of lifestyle there was little or no difference. So Jesus’ tough words are actually important. They were then and they are now.
Jesus challenges us to realise it is a battle and we are to be salty. Salt is one of only 5 tastes we have. It is horrid stuff on its own but in food it brings out flavour. In the days before fridges and freezers it was used to preserve meat. They used to rub it into wounds, and good picture as it stings at the time but the salt kills any infection. We are to be that flavouring, healing other’s wounds. We are to be the preservative to our communities, our neighbours and families.
Part of that of this is precisely that we will be different. So that folk around here will want whatever it is we have got. So we do not complain all the time, or put others down, or do the ‘life is terrible’ thing. But that people will invariably feel better for having met us. We will have imparted hope, love, mercy, grace to them. And they will go away from that meeting challenged and cheered. At that moment you will be Jesus to them. However faintly.
It is a great word that Jesus used, ‘salty’. Worth thinking about during course of the week. We are to be salty warriors in a battle. If you cannot remember the words of this sermon then remember the picture ‘salty warriors’. At the end when Graham says ‘go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ he is sending you out into a battle to be salty warriors for the Lord. Amen.
Reflection … David Carter (19 September)
Jesus’ disciples knew that they were following a great man. Peter had already identified Jesus as the Messiah, and Jesus didn’t deny it (8:27-30). The disciples had seen Jesus heal sick people, and it was clear that his teaching was something special.
And the disciples had the inside track. There were only twelve of them. As Jesus expanded his reach, he would need all the help he could get.
They hoped that he would take over the country–assemble an army–drive out the Romans. Then he could build a palace in Jerusalem, as King David had done.
Jesus could establish alliances with rulers of other countries. Before long, he would have things sewn up. No one could touch him.
Where would that leave the disciples? Would he make all twelve top-level managers–reporting directly to him? Or would he pick one disciple to serve as chief of staff? Or would he pick a few for top positions and let the others serve one tier down? No one knew, but they knew that big changes were coming–and they were nervous.
So they had been arguing about who among them would be greatest (9:34). It was obvious that Jesus had already marked Peter, James, and John for top positions. When Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter, he had taken Peter, James, and John into the house with him while the rest of the disciples cooled their heels outside (5:37). When Jesus went to the top of the mountain to meet Moses and Elijah, Peter, James, and John were with him (9:2). It was clear that Jesus favoured Peter, James, and John.
So maybe the rest of them might be working for Peter, James, and John. They liked Peter well enough, and he clearly had leadership potential, but Peter had a terrible temper–and a tendency to shoot from the hip. You never knew what kind of crazy thing he might do next. He might be a disaster waiting to happen.
And James and John—we know what they called James and John? The Sons of Thunder–that’s what they called them! How would we like to work for someone with a nickname like that! What if you worked for the Sons of Thunder and made a mistake? Would they erupt like a volcano? Would they spew steam and hot rock everywhere? Would they fire you? Would they hit you? Would they make you write on the blackboard, “I’ll never do that again!” a thousand times? No one knew, and no one was anxious to find out.
So the disciples had been arguing among themselves about which one was greatest:
- Am I going to work for you, or are you going to work for me?
- When you get to the top, what would you like to accomplish?
- What about Bartholomew? Bartholomew was a quiet one, but you have to watch the quiet ones. Pretty soon the quiet ones end up running the whole show.
- Or Simon the Zealot? If Jesus wanted to run off the Romans, Simon the Zealot would be the logical choice. No one hated the Romans like Simon. It was rumoured that Simon kept a knife under his robe–and knew how to use it. Would they all find themselves taking lessons in the martial arts from Simon someday? No one knew.
So they talked about it as they walked along. Hopefully, all twelve would be great–but who would be the greatest? Who would be the hero? Whose name would go down in history? They wondered about it–and talked about it.
They tried not to talk about it in front of Jesus, of course. You never knew how Jesus might take things. The disciples had their private ambitions, but they preferred that Jesus didn’t know about them. It would be better to wait so that Jesus could see them in action. Then he could reward them for a job well done!
With their minds on such things, they hadn’t really heard Jesus when he told them what he was going to do. If they had been listening, they would have been smarter, but they had been talking–not listening.
So what had Jesus told them?
He told them that he would be handed over to his enemies and killed–and that he would rise again after three days (v. 31). But the disciples hadn’t been listening, because that isn’t what they expected or wanted to hear.
So when they got to Capernaum, Jesus took them inside and asked, “What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?” (v. 33).
The disciples didn’t know what to say. They were embarrassed. They looked at the ground and shuffled their feet. They felt like little kids caught with their hands in the biscuit tin. No one answered. Not even Peter, who usually had a quick answer on the tip of his tongue. silence!
Jesus didn’t say, “I know what you were talking about!” He didn’t rebuke the disciples. He just sat down, because teachers always sat down to teach. He sat down and answered the question that had been in the back of their minds–“What must we do to be great?”
“If any man wants to be FIRST,
he shall be LAST of all and SERVANT of all” (v. 35).
What! Say again! You know how it feels when your head is one place but the person to whom you are listening says something completely out of the blue. It’s as if you need to turn your head around backwards and listen again. That’s what these disciples needed.
So Jesus said:
“If any man wants to be FIRST,
he shall be LAST of all and SERVANT of all.”
Oh! Yes! Of course! We knew that!
But, of course, they didn’t! They didn’t have a clue.
So Jesus called a little child–and put the child in their midst. — Jesus put the child inside the Men’s Circle, where children were not allowed. Then Jesus took the child in his arms.
In that time and place, a father might take his own child into his arms, but rabbis didn’t go around hugging children.
But we can imagine Jesus pulling that child close–perhaps saying a kind word or asking a question.
If Jesus asked a question, you can be sure that he waited for the child to answer. You can be sure that Jesus listened–that Jesus paid attention to the child. And while he did that, his disciples watched–but they still didn’t have a clue.
And then Jesus said:
“Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me,
and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me.” (v. 37).
There you have it! A little sermon! The First Children’s Sermon! Only it wasn’t a sermon FOR children but a sermon ABOUT children. It was an “object lesson”– This time the object was the CHILD.
What did that sermon mean? What was Jesus talking about? Jesus said, “Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me.”
In that culture, people had an obligation to receive people hospitably. When travellers came, you had an obligation to feed them–to put them up overnight–to protect them–to treat them as family. That’s what it meant to welcome someone. It meant to take care of their needs–to help them–to feed them–to make them FEEL welcome–to make them feel like part of the family.
Jesus said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me.”
The disciples weren’t inclined to welcome children. They were inclined to run them off, because children are noisy–they run and jump and drive adults crazy–they cry–they get dirty–they interrupt at the worst time.
But Jesus said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me.”
The disciples had been talking about who was great, and Jesus was telling them about true greatness. The person who welcomes a child is the one who is truly great.
But it isn’t just children whom we are to welcome. That child stood for anyone who is helpless–anyone who needs help–anyone who is small–or vulnerable–or hungry–or thirsty–or a stranger–or naked–or sick–or in prison (see Matthew 25:31-46).
Jesus wants us to help people like that–to defend them–to feed them–to give them a cup of cold water–to welcome them–to clothe them–to visit them. Listen to what Jesus says about that.
“Most certainly I tell you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the LEAST of these my brothers, you did it to ME” (Matthew 25:40).
The disciples had been arguing about who was greatest. The church today still has a problem with that–people who want to be important–who are ambitious to be great.
I wonder who is great in this church? Is it the preacher? I would like to think so, but it isn’t the preacher. Is it the person who chairs the PCC/session, etc.)? Is it the Warden? Is it the Vicar?
Let’s listen to a story about greatness. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is famous for the work that she did with people who were dying. She revolutionized the care that people in hospitals and hospices receive as they are dying. Millions of people have experienced gentler, kinder deaths because of her work.
It all started when Kubler-Ross noticed that a particular woman seemed to have a special touch with dying patients. The woman was a maintenance worker who made beds and cleaned rooms and emptied bedpans–but dying people always seemed to be more peaceful when she was around. Kubler-Ross asked the woman her secret.
“Well, I’ve been up the mountain
and I’ve been down the mountain.
I’ve lived in many valleys.”
“The worst was when I went to a public clinic
with my three-year old daughter in my arms, (PAUSE)
and before we could see a doctor, (PAUSE)
she died of pneumonia.” (PAUSE)
“I could have become cynical and angry,
but instead I decided to use my pain to help others.”
“I’m no stranger to death,
and that’s why I’m not afraid to talk and touch those who are dying.
I try to give them hope.”
Kubler-Ross promoted that woman. She made the woman a special counsellor to the dying in that hospital. But she didn’t make that woman great. She just recognized that the woman was already great.
Would we like to be great? Great in Jesus’ eyes! Great in God’s eyes!
Perhaps if we find someone who needs help–someone who cannot pay us back–someone like a child–someone like a homeless person–or a sick person–or a prisoner.
Perhaps if we do what we can for that person, doing it in Jesus’ name.
Perhaps if we will do that, Jesus will take it personally.
Perhaps He will say, “You did it to me.” And perhaps he will bless our lives.
Reflection … Mary Lee (19 September)
It’s been said that there are two reasons for everything we do – the right reason and the real reason. The right reason is the one we give to everyone else, and the one we even sometimes try to persuade ourselves with. The real reason is the one we all know but sometimes need to hide from others and even ourselves because we know deep down it doesn’t really justify what it is we’re doing. If we’re going to become more Christ-like we need to understand both – which isn’t always easy.
When Jesus said to the disciples, “What were you arguing about on the way?” I’m pretty sure he already knew the answer. The fact that the disciples’ reaction to this question was silence (Mark records, “They were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.”) suggests they each knew the real reason for their speculation and were none too proud of it. They were shamed into silence, they knew their discussion about who was the greatest was based on human ambition and desire for status, and not at all on the example and teaching of Jesus. What strikes me is that it appears Jesus left just enough space after asking his question for there to be this moment of silence during which they could all reflect on their motives and the real reason for the conversation – and so work out for themselves where they had gone wrong before Jesus had to say anything. This was a very effective way of teaching the disciples, and it’s just as effective for us too, to help us discern the reasoning behind what we do. There’s a subtle combination of things working together here – some overt teaching from Jesus (Mark says they’d gone away somewhere so that Jesus could do this) and, less obviously, being left alone for long enough for them to teach themselves. It was in being given space to learn from Jesus himself, but also to learn from their own application (or misapplication) of that teaching, that the disciples were able to realise and admit where they’d gone wrong and so be open to hear properly what Jesus was saying.
In the New Testament passage from St James his argument that jealousy and quarrelling always lead to a disintegrated community would not have been new to his readers, it’s pretty self-evident. “Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.” But what was so surprising in the teaching of Jesus, also reflected by St James, was the answer to the problems caused by jealousy and ambition – we must all practice humility, a quality never universally admired and certainly not so in Jesus’ day. “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy.”
One of the quotes I have read is that, ‘We are all shareholders in the global business of an inferiority complex.’ That seems a great way of describing the problem, why so many of us look for a solution by building up ourselves with pride, vanity and lies, and why there are so many mental health issues amongst the young. Knowing ourselves as dearly loved children of God should be all we need – as the introduction to the baptism service says, ‘As children of God, we have a new dignity.’
James and John wanted to sit at the right and left side of Jesus. Peter thought he could walk on water. All the disciples had ambitions but had to learn another way to motivate themselves, to find a reason for what they did – and that the requirement for greatness was humility. Coming from what they had just witnessed at the transfiguration (earlier in this chapter) it would have been easy for them to get caught up in some funny ideas about glory, position and status but they had to learn a different lesson.
Jesus didn’t say, ‘You shouldn’t want to be first.’ He said, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ Jesus isn’t telling us not to be great, he’s just saying that the definition of being so is the very opposite of what the world thinks – hence his teaching about children, who had no status or rights. Being the best in worldly terms involves human effort, stepping over other people, striving with no guarantee of success. But being lowly is within the reach of everyone even if it’s not in their inclination.
Martin Luther King said, ‘Anyone can be great because everyone can serve.’ We can do this – but, coming back to my earlier observation, we do it with a combination of listening to the teaching of Jesus and by having the space to learn for ourselves as we are left to reflect on the times where things go well and not so well. The danger sometimes is that rather than leaving others also to reflect we dive in with a list of teaching from scripture, a tick sheet of Christian behaviour, and leave it at that – which can feel judgemental, harsh and unattractive, and it gets in the way of or cuts across the learning that otherwise could have taken place. We need some direction, some coaching (from Jesus, from the Holy Spirit, from scripture) but we also grow when we’re given the space to make mistakes and learn from them, when we are given opportunities to reflect, to hear the still small voice, to learn for ourselves.
During the recent Olympics I read about the training programme Alistair and Jonny Brownlee followed in order to be the best Triathletes in the world. Their coach set them some basic parameters knowing that some of the best learning is done when it’s your mistake and you can’t blame anyone else – so leaving them space to work some of it out by themselves. He said they educated themselves to discover what worked and what didn’t – and there were times when he had to leave them to learn that way, he had to trust that they could and would work it out for themselves. By contrast criticism of the training regime of the unsuccessful rowers was that was precisely what they had not been permitted to do. They were spoon-fed and couldn’t think for themselves, adapt and find a winning formula that worked.
At our recent Deanery Synod, we talked about where the church is now as we emerge from lockdown and how do we should move forward. Some are keen to just pick up where we left off in March last year, expressing anxiety about church numbers – who will fill the rotas. Whilst others recognise that a lot has changed, us for one thing; we are not the people we were when we went into lockdown; we have suffered loss, been bereaved, stressed, anxious, lonely and are looking for a change of direction and so it would be appropriate to reflect on the experience of the last 18 months, talk about it if we feel the need, try new things and see what emerges; we should not force the pace just because we think we should be ‘doing something’ or presume we know and have the answers but rather take this time to reflect, pray and see what comes from it.
Jesus asked, “What were you arguing about on the way?” He already knew the answer and could simply have given the disciples a ticking off for their bad behaviour. Instead, he let them learn, he gave them time to reflect on the good reason they might have been tempted to give and the real reason lurking just underneath.
So may we find the time and courage to allow Jesus to be with us in this discerning phase, to learn from others – and may we have the grace and patience to allow others to learn from him too. Amen
With acknowledgement to the Diocese of Chelmsford 2018