‘I saw you under a fig tree’ – John 1:43-51
Sunday 24 January 2021 (Epiphany 3)
“God does impossible things through improbable people”
Collect for Epiphany 3
Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence: renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; 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 forever. Amen
Sunday 24 January 2021 (Epiphany 3)
Old Testament: Genesis 14:17-20 (Abraham and Mechizedek)
New Testament: Revelation 19:6-10 (The wedding supper of the Lamb)
Gospel: John 2:1-11 (Wedding feast at Cana)
Sunday 31 January 2021 (Epiphany 4)
Old Testament: Deuteronomy 18:15-20 (the ministry of the Prophet)
New Testament: Revelation 12:1-5 (The woman and the dragon)
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28 (Jesus casts out a demon)
For Prayer …
Nigel Stowe still in hospital, and for Pauline, Jonathan and David
The funeral for Alex Alexander will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday 27 January at St. Margaret’s, followed by burial in Cock Lane Cemetery with his wife Margaret
The funeral for Colin Rowe will be held at the Chilterns Crematorium at 11.30am on Tuesday 2 February
The funeral for Dorothy Briggs will be held at the Chilterns Crematorium at 1.45pm on Thursday 4 February
Please remember in your prayers the family and friends of these and all those who have died recently. In particular please remember Mary Aubrey following the death of Frank. Mary and Frank were members of the Tuesday Walkers and the Art Group
Ian Jones in need of a kidney transplant
Pray for our Government, the Prime Minister and all those who are working to get the best outcome for the people of our country
Following the inauguration of President Biden, please pray for the people of America and that the administration finds a way to unite the country.
The NHS and all those who work in it. Protect them and give them strength and perseverance as they work in difficult situations
Alde House and Bury Lodge, for all the staff in our care homes as they manage the challenge of protecting the residents from the virus.
If you have not looked at this already, this time of enforced isolation might be a good time to view the Archbishop of Canterbury’s series of videos on prayer. They can be found at https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/exploring-prayer
Kidney Transplant… One of our parishioners, Ian Jones, has been having treatment for his kidneys but due to recent deterioration he is now in need of an urgent kidney transplant. His wife Jean had planned to be the donor for this transplant. However thorough testing has revealed that her kidney is not strong enough for the procedure. Ian had hoped this chapter would end next month when the transplant at Churchill Hospital at Oxford was scheduled, but unfortunately without a living donor it is now open ended as he waits on the long national waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor. His renal physician strongly recommends a living donor kidney transplant as his best option, so Ian is being encouraged to activate the search for a living donor. It’s a race against time but Ian, Jean and their family are hopeful a donor will be found soon. If you would like to know more about the requirements to be a living donor please do get in touch with Ian directly :
We all wish Ian a speedy resolution and full recovery and have him on our Prayer list.
Church Envelopes… For those at Holy Trinity who give donations via the envelopes, the ones for 2021 are now on the cross-aisle. If anyone has a problem picking them up, please contact John (813181). Thank you.
Wycombe Homeless Connection … Our Big Sleepout 2020 raised a staggering £50,000, allowing vital work to continue. Over 340 people swapped their beds for sleeping bags and found gardens, sheds , greenhouses, churchyards and even bathtubs on a cold November night.
Celebrities, including Mary Berry and Tom Kerridge, posed quiz questions to entertain on the You Tube presentation.
2020 was an incredibly tough year for people who don’t have a home in our community . The pandemic has put the lives of people sleeping rough at even greater risk and so we have been working to get people off the street as soon as possible and into safe accommodation. Our homelessness prevention hotline has been ringing off the hook as the coronavirus continues to devastate lives. Thank you to those at Holy Trinity and St. Margaret’s who have helped. David Winder. Trustee.
Vaccination … I have been glad to see several in our congregations have received the vaccine including the residents of Alde House. I am aware that there is much on the internet expressing concern. The advice of the Church of England is that “The overwhelming consensus of medical and scientific consensus is that these vaccines are safe, necessary and ethical.” Please pray that the Lord will prosper the work of the vaccine and those administering it around the world, that the end of the pandemic may be hastened.
BIBLE READINGS FOR THE WEEK
Monday Ezekiel 3:22-27 Philippians 3:1-14
Tuesday Hosea 4:1-16 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Wednesday Hosea 5:1-7 1 Corinthians 10:14 – 11:1
Thursday Hosea 5:8 – 6:6 1 Corinthians 11:2-16
Friday Hosea 6:7 – 7:2 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Saturday Hosea 8 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Sunday Deuteronomy 18:15-20 Revelation 12:1-5 Mark 1:21-28
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 on John 2 v 1-11
At the time of Jesus, weddings were week-long festivals and banquets would be prepared for many guests and the week would be spent celebrating the life of the new couple. Often the whole town was invited and everybody would come because it was considered an insult to refuse an invitation to a wedding.
This Wedding was taking place on the last day of Jesus’s first week of His earthly ministry. Jesus and His disciples had been invited to this wedding and they went. It may be hard for some of you to believe this; but Jesus had a social life. After this wedding was a party and He was there and stayed for the celebration. If it is ok for Jesus to spend time with His friends and family; it is ok for us to do the same when we can.
Throughout the three years of Jesus’s earthly ministry, His mother was around. We read about His mother, brothers, and sisters; but we don’t read anything about Joseph. That is most likely because Joseph died sometime between when Jesus was 12 and 30. Because Jesus was the oldest, that made Him the head of the family. Now, Mary was at this wedding and it seems that she was a part of the celebration or was at least trying to spare the hosts the embarrassment of running out of wine. It was actually a fineable offense to run out of food or drinks at a Wedding Feast. Jesus’s initial response to Mary was that she did not understand God’s timing. I can imagine that she had often thought about the time when Jesus would begin to fulfil the prophecy that was given to her when she was pregnant with Jesus. She knew who Jesus was and that He could take care of this situation.
Her belief in Jesus tells us everything we need to know “Do whatever he tells you.” She knew that Jesus could and would solve the problem although she had no idea how. The servants did exactly what Jesus told them to do. They filled the 6 stone jars with water to the brim. Then they drew some out and took it to the master of the banquet. This may not sound strange to us; but these 6 jars were used for people to clean their hands and arms. This water was dirty and not for drinking; yet the servants not only filled them up completely; but they even took some of it to the master to drink. Taking dirty water to the master to drink could create some real issues for these servants. The point that we need to see here is that we need to do things exactly like Jesus tells us to do them; even if it makes no sense to us at the time. Jesus could have changed the water to wine without doing these other things, but He was using these servants to be a part of the miracle that He was performing. Jesus does miraculous things through us when we are obedient to Him. Those servants were the only ones to actually witness the miracle here. They would probably not have had a taste of it but they are the ones who would have gone home with a story that night. They are the ones who first glimpsed the promise of Jesus, and they are the ones for whom the gifts of God are especially meant.
The master had no idea of the situation. If he would have known that they were out of wine, he would have been in panic mode; but instead he tasted the wine and couldn’t believe the high quality of the wine. Everyone knew that you started off with the best wine; because after a while, the quality didn’t really matter. The servants, Mary, and the disciples knew what had happened. Jesus saved the best for last. When Jesus changes things and people; He does it in the best way.
These disciples that were with Him had just started following Him and they already believed in who He was. Over the next 3 years, their faith became stronger and stronger in Jesus. They began to realize that not only was nothing impossible for Jesus; but nothing was impossible for them through the power of Jesus.
So why did Jesus do this task? A friend faced a social faux pas possibly social embarrassment but did it call for a miracle? In the big picture of things wasn’t this a small trivial matter? Yes but that is just the point that’s the way Jesus is. If it matters to us then it matters to him. Our Christianity should not be bland and watered down it should be vibrant and full bodied. It should energise our lives and make our lives more meaningful and more joyful and yes more fun. Our lives should be enhanced by our faith so we live with boldness, courage and joy.
Jesus was on a mission to save the world yet he took time to attend a wedding. We may be tempted to think that we should not take time out from our important work for social occasions but maybe these social occasions are part of our mission. Jesus valued these wedding festivities because they involved people and Jesus came to be with people. Our mission can often be accomplished in joyous times of celebration with others. Bring balance into your life by bringing Jesus into times of pleasure as well as times of work.
Jesus often comes into our lives and does miraculous works but we may not recognise them. Just as most of the guests at the wedding had no idea what had happened but the servants saw and recognised what they were seeing. Do we always see what is going on in our lives or are we sometimes too busy to notice.
I close with a poem where the man wants to hear and see God but chooses to ignore what he sees.
The man whispered, “God, speak to me”
And a meadowlark sang.
But, the man did not hear.
So the man yelled, “God, speak to me”
And the thunder rolled across the sky.
But, the man did not listen. The man looked around and said,
“God let me see you.”
And a star shined brightly.
But the man did not see.
And, the man shouted, “God show me a miracle.”
And, a life was born.
But, the man did not notice.
So, the man cried out in despair, “Touch me God, and let me know you are here.”
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But, the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
This is a great reminder that God is always around us in the little and simple things that we take for granted even in our electronic age, so perhaps we could add one more:
The man cried, “God, I need your help!”
And an e-mail arrived reaching out with good news and encouragement.
But, the man deleted it and continued crying…
Don’t miss out on a blessing because it isn’t packaged the way that you expect.
Intercessions… The Yeates Family
Lord – we thank you that you are with us even as we face the despair of situations beyond our control. You were there before all time and know our every need. In the midst of our troubles help us to be alive to your great love for us all, and to turn to you with our pain and fears.
As many of our normal activities are put on hold, let us use this opportunity to focus on the blessings we encounter – the wonder of new life and renewal even in the darkest days or an act of kindness from an unexpected source. Help us to draw strength from these, and, in turn, reflect the light of your hope on to others.
LORD, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord – we bring before you those who have the responsibility of making decisions which affect the lives of others. Please give them the wisdom to do their work with integrity and humanity.
We also ask for strength and courage for those who are in the front line of delivering those decisions. We give thanks for the extraordinary level of commitment shown by those in the public eye – health and care professionals, teachers, uniformed organisations and aid workers. Let us also not forget those who are reaching out to others on an individual basis, many of them unknown and unsung.
LORD, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord – we ask that you will be with all who are suffering and in need of comfort at this time. Those who are unwell or in pain, those anxious for loved ones, the lonely, the bereaved, and all who are fearful for what their future holds. Help us to do whatever we can to show our love and support to those in need.
We also ask for your blessing on our fellowships in Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s. Even though we cannot meet together at the moment, we ask that you keep us strong in our care for one another and our service to our community.
LORD, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Finally, we sum up all our prayers in the words of the Lord’s Prayer…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
are yours for ever and ever. Amen