Sunday 1 August 2021 (Trinity 9)
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17.11
Collect for Trinity 9
Almighty God, who sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and light of your Church: open our hearts to the riches of your grace, that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in love and joy and peace; 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 1 August 2021 (Trinity 9)
8am Prayer Book Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Mike
10am Service of the Word at St Margaret’s with David Carter
New Testament: Ephesians 4:1-16 (unity in Christ)
Gospel: John 17:6-19 (Jesus prays for the disciples)
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 8 August (Trinity 10)
8am Prayer Book Communion at Holy Trinity with Revd. Graham
10am Service of the Word at St. Margaret’s with Mary Lee
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:4-8 (Elijah in the wilderness)
New Testament: Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2 (righteous living)
Gospel: John 6:35-51 (I am the bread of life)
For Prayer …
Give thanks to God for successful Lighthouse Holiday Clubs at Beaconsfield and Hazlemere. Pray for those youngsters who gave their lives to Jesus. Pray for all those who will attend Christian Holiday Clubs last week and this coming week around the UK. Many thanks to all those who donated biscuits and items for craft – they have been much appreciated
Scott McCarthy and Rebecca Bowles getting married at St Margaret’s on Saturday 7 August
Arshak and Edwina Sarkissian as they settle into their new home in Lichfield
Please do pray for wisdom both within Government and the Church of England in this crucial phase of the current pandemic.
John and Angela Watts
Alex Jansons (and all her family) going through lengthy treatment for breast cancer
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.
Note on Covid Restrictions as they apply to Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s from Sunday 25th July
From the 19th July the Government has removed most coronavirus legislation. The emphasis now centres around the personal and corporate responsibility of individuals and organisations to protect others and themselves.
Within the Church we believe that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering. The move to step 4 means we are being asked to take even more personal responsibility around coronavirus than when we were compelled to adhere to Government restrictions.
The full guidance issue by the Church of England is attached.
The following has been discussed with the Wardens and staff team and summarises the changes as they will affect us here at Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s. The guidance below reflects the legal situation (in italics) and our judgement where we have discretion. As you will be well aware, any such guidance will change as the situation, inevitably, changes.
Capacity of our churches.
From Step 4 legal limits on the numbers of people allowed to meet indoors and outdoors will be removed, including all capacity limits in churches and other venues, as well as removal of the 1 meter+ social distancing rules.
We will, however, for our regular Sunday services, only use alternate pews (as at present) to allow a measure of social distancing. In Holy Trinity, this gives us a capacity of 60 and St Margaret’s of 45 (see weddings, funerals and baptisms below).
It will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering, though the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others.
In recognition of our love and care for each other, we will urge people to wear masks during services. Although most are fully vaccinated, to catch the virus will still make you ill. We want to do everything possible to make it easier and safer for our brothers and sisters to feel at ease to come, even if at some discomfort to ourselves.
From 19 July singing and musical performances of all kinds are allowed in churches, including congregational singing, and choirs and worship groups can perform without legal limitations.
We do feel strongly that the wearing of masks in church on a Sunday morning is important and this will make singing very difficult. So what we plan to do through August is sing the final hymn at the 10am service outside in the churchyard, without masks. Obviously this is weather dependent (so pray for dry Sundays).
Many congregations will now be familiar with offering a sign of peace without touching one another.
You will be able to share the peace normally with those who are close friends or family and are sharing a pew with you. Everyone else we will share the Peace with you without touching.
Careful consideration needs to be given to the question of whether the sacrament should be administered in one kind or in both kinds, given the continued potential for risks to health posed by the common cup.
On the advice above and that of the Bishop of Oxford we will continue to administer Communion by wafer only for the time being.
Fellowship after the service
There are no longer any restrictions on serving food and drink, and people no longer have to be seated in their households or bubbles to eat and drink.
As we are just entering school holidays and numbers are always lower, we will continue with the informal fellowship in the churchyard after the service with the hope that we will return to refreshments in September.
Pattern of services
We will retain our current pattern of an 8am at Holy Trinity and 10am at St Margaret’s through July and August with the hope that we will return to 8am and 11am at Holy Trinity and 9.30am at St Margaret’s from September.
Funerals, weddings and baptisms.
Life event services, such as weddings, baptisms and funerals, can be some of the most important pastoral encounters in a parish and in the life of a family, but also may pose particular challenges as we move to step 4 of the Governments roadmap.
Weddings, funerals and baptisms, because they are ‘one offs’ and those attending come in family groups, will not be subject to a limitation on numbers in church. Attendees will be advised to wear masks.
Those who still do not feel able to attend
Everyone has a different set of criteria by which they judge whether they feel safe in different situations. For many people, the relaxation of restrictions is a source of significant anxiety.
We will continue to upload to our website each week the live stream and audio of our services from St Margaret’s as well as including the text of the Sermon and Intercessions in the Newsheet.
All other activities of church life.
Home Groups, Junior Church (TYGRE Club, X Stream and G3), Art Groups and Toddlers can all meet in person now but as the school holidays are just upon us, it makes sense to plan to start up again in September.
And a final word of caution.
Our Lord in His grace and mercy knows exactly how the current pandemic will play out over the next few months and years. We, and that includes Governments and the Health Service, do not. So everything above comes with the health warning that it WILL change. We pray that it will be for the better but that may be in the longer rather than shorter term.
Rotas at St. Margaret’s and Holy Trinity… In preparation for the day when Services return to normal times and formats, Gail is gathering names for those willing to go on the rotas (the more people available the less often it comes around!). I particularly need cleaners at St. Margaret’s (the rota is for every couple of weeks) and welcomers at Holy Trinity for 11am. The other rotas to fill are at St. Margaret’s – Sunday coffee after the service, Tuesday coffee following the walkers and sidesmen during the service. Please contact Gail on 813254. Many thanks.
BIBLE READINGS FOR THE WEEK
Monday Ezekiel 37:1-14 Mark 1:1-13
Tuesday Ezekiel 37:15-28 Mark 1:14-20
Wednesday Ezekiel 39:21-29 Mark 1:21-28
Thursday Ezekiel 43:1-12 Mark 1:29-45
Friday 1 Kings 19:1-16 1 John 3:1-3
Saturday Ezekiel 47:1-12 Mark 2:13-22
Sunday 1 Kings 19:4-8 Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2 John 6:35-51
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 … David Carter
We have come through the season of tests and examinations – the season of new beginnings. All across the land, students and parents have waited for the slow walk to the school notice board or the official letter – the letter to be proudly presented or perhaps to be hastily concealed and taken to the privacy of the bedroom. It’s a proud moment in a family’s life, but an anxious moment as well. Soon the proud graduates will go off to a school, a sixth form, a college or start a new job. Some will join the armed forces. By autumn, they will be scattered far and wide.
One of the most difficult things a young person has to do is to leave home to launch a new life, independent of parents. One of the most difficult things that a parent has to do is to encourage the young person to do just that – to say goodbye and to hope and pray that all will go well. We parents did our best for eighteen years – and will continue to do what we can – but the time finally comes for our child to leave home and to start building a new life. The church marks these transitions in its own way. We had the opportunity over the years to teach our children in Tygre Club – in G3. We had the opportunity to lead them in worship. Now we put their names in our hearts and memories – offer our prayers and our blessings –and hope for the best.
Any parent who has sent a son or daughter away to school – or to the armed forces – or to a job in the city – or to his or her own accommodation –can appreciate what Jesus experienced as he prepared to leave his disciples. Jesus had called these disciples – had led them – had taught them – and now it was time for him to return to the Father. Jesus was leaving the disciples behind in the world. The word in the Greek New Testament is kosmos. This kosmos, as Jesus used it, doesn’t mean planet earth. Jesus’ kosmos is the world that stands in opposition to God––the world that struggles to keep God at arm’s length––the world that is busy with things that do not please God––the world that sees God as spoil-sport. That’s the kosmos in which Jesus was leaving his disciples. For some families, the kosmos is the university campus. For others, it might be an Army post or an apartment complex for swinging singles. There is no shortage of kosmos places in this kosmos-world. There is no shortage of people who will try to undo the work that we, as parents, were careful to do. When we love our child and have to send them to such an alien place, what can we do? We can pray – that’s what we can do! Sometimes we can do more, but we can always pray. That’s what Jesus did as he prepared to leave his disciples – he prayed. You can hear the angst in his voice as he prays: “I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world. They were yours, and you have given them to me. They have kept your word…. I pray for them…. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are” (vv. 6, 9, 11).
Now listen carefully to the next part of Jesus’ prayer. See if Jesus doesn’t sound like a mother or father preparing to send a child off to kosmos-land:
“The world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that you would take them from the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one” (v. 15). Don’t you hear the pleading — mothering tone of Jesus’ voice! “I pray not that you would take them from the kosmos-world, but that you would keep them from the evil one.”
Jesus knows that his time has come to return to the Father. His cross lies immediately ahead. His time on earth is nearly finished, and his opportunity to work with these disciples––to shape their lives––to prepare them––is past. He has come to save the world––the kosmos––to transform it into something better than kosmos––to help kosmos-people become Godly people. Jesus has prepared his disciples to take over that task when his time comes to return to the Father––and now that time is here. He is leaving these disciples behind enemy lines––in the kosmos––in the world that stands in opposition to God––in the world that struggles to keep God at arm’s length. He prays: “I pray not that you would take them from the kosmos-world.” It would not make sense to take the disciples out of the kosmos, because Jesus is leaving them behind as his agents to transform the world – and so he prays: “Keep them from the evil one.”
Is there any mother here who cannot understand that prayer? Any father? We have no choice but to send our children out into a kosmos-world that will tempt them to forget what they learned around our kitchen table. But, like Jesus, we can pray, “Keep them from the evil one.” When Jesus prays, “Keep them from the evil one,” he is not praying so much for their physical safety as for their souls. He prays, “Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth” (v. 17). We don’t use that word, sanctify, very much. It’s related to our word saint, but in the New Testament it really means, “Set apart for God’s work.” When Jesus prays that God will sanctify his disciples, he is really praying that his disciples will live up to their calling to be God’s people in a hostile world – to be God’s missionaries – to be a little leaven to leaven the whole loaf. It’s a prayer that the evil one will not be able to sink his tentacles into the disciples to destroy them from inside.
Parents understand that prayer too. We certainly want our children to be safe from the dangers that come from outside––car accidents, sexual attack, and all the rest––but the most frightening dangers are those that would destroy from within – drugs, bad companions, and the like. We fear those who would kill the body, but we especially fear those who would destroy the soul. And so Jesus prays, “Keep them from the evil one.” We pray the same for our children: “Keep them from the evil one.”
But every parent wants to do even more to protect their child, and we wonder what we can do. We can learn from Jesus. How did he prepare his disciples?
First of all, he says, “I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world” (v. 6). There is a great lesson for parents in that verse. Jesus lifted up God’s name to his disciples. As parents, we can do the same for our children. We can make God’s name known to our children.
There’s the story of Michael and Sarah, after their daughter was born, one of the first places they went was to church. They would put her in one of those little plastic infant carriers with a handle on the top, and put her on the pew beside Sarah in church. When she cried, she would take her to the church porch until she settled down. It wasn’t easy to get an infant dressed and ready to go. It would have been easier for Sarah to stay at home and to return to church when their daughter was a year old – or two years old – or three – or sometime…. It would have seemed more sensible, too, because Sarah spent half her time in the foyer during that first year. Some people would say that she wasn’t “getting much out of it” – and that the child wasn’t “getting much out of it” either.
But, in fact, the opposite was true. There were lots of good things happening in those days. Sarah was maintaining her connection with the church – the body of Christ – and that was important to her. She was demonstrating, by her faithful presence, her love for God, and that was an important witness to the congregation. But, most of all, she was making God’s name known to their daughter.
Some people would say that she was not making anything known to anybody. The child was too young to understand any of it – the sermon, the music, the prayers – any of it. Why not wait until later?
But they were convinced that good things were happening for her even in those earliest days. Did she understand? Of course not! But, little by little, the window of her understanding opened and, as it did, light was there to shine through it.
We are not just made of flesh, blood and brain cells, but there is a spark of God’s spirit in all of us. The child grew up, from the first weeks of her life, knowing that they loved God and hoped that she would love God too. They spent eighteen years making God’s name known to her, and then they sent her off to kosmos-land, praying, “Holy Father, protect her…. Keep her from the evil one.”
When Jesus prayed that prayer for his disciples, he prayed in the faith that God would answer his prayer. He said of his disciples, “they have kept your word” (v. 6). That sounds pretty generous, given the track record of those disciples up to that time, but Jesus knew that it was true – or, perhaps, just had faith that it would be true. It wasn’t that they were great disciples, but that they believed in him. He had asked a great deal of them, and they had hung in there with him. They hadn’t accomplished much yet, but he was confident that they would. They would do well, because he had given them God’s name, and they had kept God’s word. And surprisingly, they did an amazing job. After the resurrection, they turned the world upside down for Christ.
“Holy Father, keep them through your name…. Keep them from the evil one.” (vv. 11, 15).
Let us pray that prayer in faith too – faith that God will help children and grandchildren – and great grandchildren to live as faithful citizens of this world and the next – that, with God’s help, they will fulfil their callings and live Godly, productive lives.
It might sound as if this is a message for the parents of young people leaving home––but it’s much more than that:
- It’s a message for young people who will, in a few years, get married and have families
- It’s a message for parents of young children. For the next few years, we will hold great sway over our child’s life. In ten years, our influence will dwindle, and our child will be swayed more and more by others. Let’s use these precious years to make God’s name known to our child.
- It’s also a message for us senior citizens. It’s all too easy for people who are retired from their jobs to think of themselves as retired from the kingdom too – but God doesn’t recognize retirements.
In a busy church there’s always lots to do and lots of help required. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be — Tygre Club, XStream, G3, PCC, Flowers, cleaning, administration, reading Rota, prayer Rota, coffee to name but a few. All to undergird this congregation as it makes God’s name known. Perhaps we can help financially. But one thing is sure – as long as we live, God will call us to make his name known.
- And all of us can pray – pray for our children – pray for our young people – pray for our young families – pray for those who are sick or discouraged – pray for the elderly.
The prayer is simple.
“Holy Father, keep them through your name…. Keep them from the evil one.”
That was Jesus’ prayer. Let’s make it ours as well.
Intercessions … Pat Seddon
Holy Father to whom we draw near with boldness through our Lord Jesus Christ: Look we beseech you on His merits and not on our unworthiness; and grant that our prayers , being asked in His name may be accepted for His sake.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
Lord we pray for all those who have been affected by the extreme weather that seems to have become a regular event just lately, causing severe floods which give people no time to prepare.
May the world leaders meeting this autumn to discuss climate change be united in their wish to find solutions. May we all in our own small way do whatever we can to improve the situation.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
We pray for all young people, especially those at a crossroads in their lives. Those who are moving to a different school, moving from school to further education or the workplace. May they be well supported at this challenging time by family, friends, teachers in fact anyone who is able to guide and encourage them.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
Loving Father we commend to your care those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, particularly those known to us, thinking especially of Alex Jansons. We also think of Arshak and Edwina Sarkissian who have just moved to Lichfield to be near their daughter leaving behind their familiar surroundings and many old friends.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
Lord we pray for the bereaved. Give them your peace. Help them to travel the lonely path before them with faith and courage and strengthen their hope in Him who overcame death and opened for us the gate of life, your beloved Son Jesus Christ. We remember them with deep gratitude who have left their mark on our lives by giving us love and laughter, but have now gone before us to be with Christ. We hold them in our hearts knowing that you Lord hold them in yours.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer
We close our prayers by saying the Lord’s Prayer together
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 forever. Amen
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen