Sunday 18 October 2020 (Trinity 19)
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4
Collect for Trinity 19…
O God, forasmuch as without you we are not able to please you; mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; 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 18 October (Trinity 19) – Old Testament: ; New Testament: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (He has chosen you); Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22 (Give to God what is God’s)
8am Holy Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Mike
10am Service of the Word at St. Margaret’s with Mary Lee
Sunday 25 October (Trinity 20) – Old Testament: Leviticus 19:1-18 (10 Commandments): New Testament: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (a share in the Gospel): Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46 (The greatest Commandment)
8am Holy Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Mike
10am Service of the Word at St. Margaret’s with Revd. Mike
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
Other Sunday Services and resources from the Diocese
The Diocese will continue to stream a communion service from his home at 10am available from the Diocesan Website
Reflections for a church in lockdown
The next episode in a new series of reflective podcasts by Bishop Steven is published on Thursday. The series aims to resource the Church during the crisis. Listen online in your web browser, or search ‘My Extraordinary Family’ wherever you get your podcasts.
The Holy Trinity and St. Margaret’s Vestry Meetings and APCMs will be held this year on Tuesday, 27 October and Wednesday 28 October respectively, starting at 7.30pm. Due to current restrictions they will be by Zoom and the General Synod of the Church of England has passed the requisite legislation to allow this to happen. If you wish to attend you must provide Gail in the office with an email address so that an invitation to the Zoom Meeting can be sent to you on the day of the APCM.
Colin and June Doyle have now moved to Huntingdon and Gail in the office has all their contact details. They would love to hear from people.
One Can Trust…
Congratulations to Emma Byrne and the family as they have now collected an amazing 1,490 donations since March 2020, which is approximately 248 cans per month. Currently 90% of the One Can donations come from places like this, so makes every can count really! Well done Emma and keep the cans coming in.
For Prayer …
Family and friends of Gilbert Knight. Marie has particularly asked me to thank everyone for the beautiful cards and messages.
Pauline Stowe, back home following her foot operation
Pray for our Government, the Prime Minister and all those who are working to get the best outcome for the people of our 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
Shoeboxes … We will be receiving our Shoeboxes on Sunday 1st November at our 8am Service at Holy Trinity and our 9.30am Junior Church Service and 10am Service at St Margaret’s.
Our shoeboxes this year will go to Operation Christmas Child 2020.
Instructions are different this year due to the pandemic. So …
Packing a shoebox
- Get an empty medium sized shoe box and wrap the box and lid separately in colourful wrapping paper
- Label the top of your box, is it for a BOY or a GIRL and add the age range 2-4years 5-9 years or 10-14 years
- Fill your shoebox with a selection of fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies
TOYS – toy doll, stuffed animal/toy, finger puppets, slinky, skipping rope, playdough and plastic cutters, musical instruments like a harmonica, small bouncy ball, small bag etc.
HYGIENE – comb, hairbrush, hair ties/bands, bars of soap, flannel, toothbrush, plastic cup, plate, bowl, water bottle, bracelets, sunglasses, hats, scarf, mittens, socks etc.
SCHOOL – pencils, ruler, rubber, pencil case, crayons, felt tips, colouring pencils, colouring books/pads, puzzle books, picture books, note books, sellotape, glue stick, paint set, brushes, paper etc.
PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE ANY LIQUIDS, INCLUDING TOOTHPASTE, OR ANY FOOD, INCLUDING SWEETS
Please bring your shoeboxes to church on Sunday 1st or to 11 Kings Ride, Tylers Green by Friday 6th November 2020
Remembrance Sunday this year falls on 8 November. There will be an Act of Remembrance at the end of the 10am service at St. Margaret’s. There will not be a Royal British Legion Service on the Sunday afternoon, so to accommodate as many people as wish to come, there will be an Act of Remembrance starting at 10.50am around the War Memorial at Holy Trinity Penn. The Service of readings, prayers, roll call and 2 minutes’ silence will take around 20 minutes so please dress warmly. Due to the current restrictions we will not be using the church.
Lighthouse Live… After Lighthouse Live in the summer Lighthouse Central will be putting on a series of continuity online events, starting with a Light Party on Friday 30th October.
We have brand new presenters Eleyna and Ryan, Zoe back with the Memory Verse and Craft, Sports Guy IN the kennel with Professor Max, Cat will be telling us a Bible Story about Light (and duck billed platypi!) and how we can all show the Light of Jesus and there is a brand new drama written featuring Captain Noahs Spaceark! Plus all the favourite Lighthouse songs with actions. And all delivered by Lighthouse volunteers and our good friends at allstarskidsclub studios.
There is also a Lighthouse Safe Harbour session for SEND children. It will be available here https://go.allstarskidsclub.com/catalog from 5.00pm on Friday 30th October so do please encourage your church family to join in and of course it is there for you to use in services if you would like.
Our next event will be a Christmas Lighthouse Live and then an Easter event. Our fervent prayer is that we will be able to deliver physical Lighthouses in the Summer 2021.
Wycombe Homeless Connection’s Big Sleepout 2020: At home is here!
We need more people than ever to swap their beds for sleeping bags and sleep out in solidarity with the people we serve. It’s on Friday 20th November. We’re asking people to sleep out ‘at home’ rather than gather at large venues. Everything you need to know is on our website and registration is now open or give us a call on 01494 447699 to find out more. www.wyhoc.org.uk/bigsleepout2020
Thank you again for all you do supporting Wycombe Homeless Connection.
Working Party… There will be a working party at St. Margaret’s on Saturday, 17 October from 10am to clear some of the weeds and trim bushes around the church.
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.
Spoiler Alert!!!!! ….
Further down this webpage we’ve included the sermon for our service on Sunday morning. You may wish to stop reading here and wait to listen on Sunday. Up to you.
Reflection for Sunday by Mary Lee
‘Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s’
There is nothing new about accusations of carefully picked audiences. if you are a fan of the topical debate programme Question Time you will be familiar with claims that frequently fly around about skewed audiences hostile to the panellists, deliberately picked to ask trick questions designed to vilify politicians, not interested in the reasoned responses or the other perspective.
And over the last four years we have become familiar with the jaw dropping press conferences that the current US President holds and his frequent claims that some quote of his or statement is pure “fake news”.
Judging from our Gospel account, trick questions that put people on the spot seem to have been around for as long as there have been public issues and leaders offering solutions.
This one which the Pharisees put to Jesus has a somewhat double edge. The issue of paying tax to the Roman authorities in general and the Emperor specifically was one of the hot debates of Jesus’ day. Imagine living in a country occupied by a hostile state demanding that you pay tax as a reward for having your land stolen. It causes riots and revolutions. When Jesus was a boy one of the most famous Jewish leaders was a man named Judas, who had led a revolt on this very issue. It was crushed mercilessly by the Romans leaving crosses around the countryside with dead and dying revolutionaries on them as a warning that paying tax was compulsory, not optional.
So the Pharisees question came with something of a health warning – that telling the people that they should not pay the tax might lead to a very unpleasant end.
At the same time, anyone leading a Kingdom of God movement could well be expected to oppose the tax or face the ridicule or resentment of the people. It could lead to his popularity taking a nose-dive, perhaps solve the problem that the Pharisees had come to see Jesus being.
Surely the whole point of God becoming king was that Caesar couldn’t be. If Jesus wasn’t intending to get rid of the tax and all that it meant, why had they followed him from Galilee. Why had they shouted ‘Hosanna’ just a few days earlier. If Jesus had been a politician on a TV programme, you can imagine the audience’s delight and the producer’s glee, when someone asked this question. This is the one that will really find him out.
There is no doubt that this audience is a rather odd mixture of people, Pharisees and Herodians agreeing, colluding. The Herodians were a Jewish party who sympathised with the Herodian rulers in their government and introduction of Roman social customs and here represent overt supporters of the Roman regime, people who would support paying the tax whereas the Pharisees were ardent Nationalists and generally popular with the people because they resented and resisted paying the tax but without going as far as the nationalists who publicly resisted its payment. So what unites them then? A common desire to destroy the credibility of Jesus.
So they arrive at the place where Jesus is teaching and push their way forward and ask this potential bombshell of a question, bringing the audience to a hush as they call out ‘teacher’, continuing with false flattery – “we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth’ (so they had been listening). And then, as a gesture to the crowd “you show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us then what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”
I imagine that when they had finished the question, you could have heard a pin drop! They had done it, they had him, they had trapped him. There was no escape. How was he going to answer, get out of that one? If he replied “no” then the Herodians would tell the authorities that he was inciting civil disobedience and potential revolt. He would be tried and executed. But if he said “yes”, then the crowd, who had seen enough of Roman rule – who had seen their wealth stripped from them and shipped off to Rome and desperate for someone to take a stand for them, are going to feel really let down by this man they had pinned their hopes on. He would effectively be telling them to toe the line, fall in step with the authorities and just accept what the occupying Romans tell them to do.
Not for the first time, before answering, Jesus pauses.
On this occasion, Jesus asks for the coin used to pay the tax before answering the question. The coin has the head of Caesar on it. it could be said that asking for a coin is the starting point of his answer, his strategic outflanking move. By being able to produce a coin they were indicating that they do in fact handle the currency they so hate. Among the reasons for its hatred was what was on the coin. Jews were not permitted to put images of people, human faces on their coins. But on these Roman coins Caesar had his image stamped on it. And around the edge of the coin were the words that would have brought a shudder to any self-respecting Jew “Son of God…. high priest” . Such a statement would have been so offensive to the Jews, breaking the first commandment, that to even possess such a coin was tantamount to trafficking in graven images. If this coin had been handed to Jesus by a Pharisee, then its possession revealed gross hypocrisy by those portraying an impression of religious purity.
How did Jesus take the coin – with distaste, an attempt to handle it as little as possible or even at all. We don’t know; we are not told.
But his choice of words are simple but at the same time devastatingly complex.
Jesus says – “whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?
Its Caesar’s they reply and with it an admission of carrying Caesar’s coinage. In that case, Jesus continues, “you had better pay Caesar back in his own coin”.
What did that mean! on the one hand it sounded a bit like calling a revolution but standing there holding the coin also sounded like you should pay the tax. And then to add to the complexity Jesus continues “ and you had better give to God what is God’s.
By his response Jesus was not attempting to give an answer to all questions of relationships between God and political authority. That wasn’t the point of his answer. He was countering the Pharisees’ challenge to him with a sharp challenge in return. Was it, after all not they who had compromised? Had they not compromised in their allegiance to God? Weren’t they not the ones playing games by keeping Caesar happy while speaking of God but only speaking of Him.
Render to God that which is God’s may mean to give him everything because there is nothing in this world that is not God’s. Think of the words of the offertory “all things come from you and of your own do we give you”. But where does that leave Caesar? For all his delusions of omnipotence, Caesar’s power is ultimately compassed in that of God. Jesus’ attitude to tax anticipates his attitude towards Pilate at his trial. He doesn’t offer violent resistance because he is not concerned about replacing one empire with another.
The words are ambiguous and, in all probability, deliberately so: Jesus is leaving it up to us to work out the answer. Jesus offers us a gentle yet confident assertion that true sovereignty lies with God.
Perhaps we can only really understand Jesus’ answer when looked at in the light of the whole story, in the context of the Big Picture. Jesus knew, he had indeed already told his disciples, that he was going to be killed, crucified, to share the fate of the tax rebels of his boyhood. He wasn’t trying to wriggle out of personal or political danger. He was indeed walking straight on into it. But he was doing it on his own terms. His vocation was not to be a simple revolutionary, a Che Guevara of his day. The kingdom of God would indeed defeat the kingdom of Caesar but not by conventional means. Instead it would be by the victory of God’s love and power over the even greater empire of death itself.
An interesting aside to this is that perhaps not always having the answers is the right response, something we should be prepared to admit; permitting a vulnerability, an honesty that may be more attractive than a pretence of certainty because it is an acknowledgment of our struggle to live out and be Christians in this complex secular world in which we juggle competing interests. Currently we are striving to work out how to maintain our presence as Christians in our communities amidst the tight rules surrounding the fighting of COVID and it is not easy. But we should take heart from the fact that Jesus faced these challenges too and didn’t always give a clear answer. Nevertheless, what is clear is that we are stamped with God’s image and called to live our lives for him in this world, just as Jesus did, suffering as we do so whilst praying and longing for the world as it should be. Amen
Intercessions with Gill Winder
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit come fill us in this time of challenge.
We pray for all those suffering bereavement, anxiety, illness and financial pressures, that they may know your presence. Comfort them and help them through their troubles.
We pray for our leaders both national and local that they have the wisdom and courage to steer us through successfully.
Bring our communities together Lord, with a sense of responsibility, love and respect for each other.
Uphold us all, Lord, in particular key workers, especially those in our valued National Health Service who are striving to save lives under increasing pressures.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayers.
We praise & thank you for all that follows, Lord:-
- our Children are still attending school.
- for Autumn and all the beauty that the season brings.
- A growing awareness & commitment to medical treatments that have been neglected in recent months because of the focus on the Pandemic.
- For the love & dedication shown by our NHS doctors and nurses.
- For our in- Church and on-line Services which offer such support and comfort to so many of us.
- Thank you that you are always there as our rock and refuge and that you know and love each one of us.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayers.
As our Saviour taught us, so we pray The Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
|Day||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Monday||2 Kings 17:24-41||Philippians 1:1-11|
|Tuesday||2 Kings 18:1-12||Philippians 1:12-30|
|Wednesday||2 Kings 18:13-37||Philippians 2:1-13|
|Thursday||2 Kings 19:1-19||Philippians 2:14-30|
|Friday||2 Kings 19:20-36||Philippians 3:1 – 4:1|
|Saturday||2 Kings 20||Philippians 4:2-23|
|Sunday||Leviticus 19:1-18||1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matt. 22:34-46
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