Sunday 31st May 2020

Sunday Gospel Reading 31st May

Pentecost

John 20:19-23 

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”



Sunday 10th May 2020

Sunday Gospel Reading 10th May

John 14:1-14 

Jesus the Way to the Father

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.



Sunday 3rd May 2020

Sunday Gospel Reading 3rd May

John 10 

Jesus the Good Shepherd

10 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.



Sunday 26th April 2020

Sunday Gospel Reading 26th April

Luke 24:13-35 

The Walk to Emmaus

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” 25 Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.



Sunday 29th March 2020

Gospel Reading Sunday 29th March

 

John 11:1-45

The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10 But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” 11 After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” 13 Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Jesus Weeps

28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34 He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus began to weep. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life

38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The Plot to Kill Jesus

45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

 



A Prayer

A PRAYER FOR ALL THOSE AFFECTED BY CORONAVIRUS

 
Keep us, good Lord, 
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.
In Christ Jesus our Lord


Sunday 13th October 2019

Gospel Reading Sunday 13th October

Luke 17:11-19 

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”



Dear Friends September 2019

Dear Friends
 
MENTAL Health seems such an emotive issue these days.  Ranging from stress related depression and anxiety thru Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADHA to Alzheimer’s and Dementia and a whole raft of issues in between. Mental illness has many forms and varieties.  Rarely today do I meet someone that has not been touched in some way by some form of mental illness, whether that’s self,  in the immediate or wider family, a friend, neighbour or work colleague. Neither does mental illness know any age barrier – young or old, rich or poor, executive or labourer.  The cost to our economy is enormous The NHS in England planned to spend £12.2 billion on mental health in 2018/19. That’s roughly one in every ten pounds spent by the Department of Health and Social Care. Why is it such a powerful, costly and emotive subject these days?
 
You could argue I suppose that mental health has always been an issue it’s just that it has a much higher visibility and  we are much more  aware and informed than  we ever have been before.  That’s indisputable!  I would guess that process started with the shift to the ‘care in the community’ policies of recent governments and the pressures that has brought to individuals, families and communities and their resources.  Mental hospitals are much fewer and far between these days and there is still a certain amount of stigma attached to them.  The word bedlam came about as a contraction of the name of a hospital in London. This hospital started out in 1247 as a priory for the order of St. Mary of Bethlehem. This priory eventually became the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem and was meant to serve sick poor and homeless people. However, by 1405, the hospital was under royal control and had begun to be partly used as an insane asylum, the first of its kind in England. The name of the hospital had already been slurred to Bedlam in popular speech, helped along by the variant spelling Bethlem and soon an inmate of the asylum started to be called a bedlam as well.
 
Bedlam was not always the most well run or inspected of establishments and there were periods of great brutality and there were descriptions of “miserable creatures in chains” in John Evelyns 1657 diary. The hospital became known as a place of noisy, raving lunatics and wealthy people even took to visiting it to be entertained by their antics.  Thankfully care today is much more compassionate and caring and there are many healthcare professionals whose vocation is to administer that care and compassion.  It still begs the question why are we seeing such a prevalence of mental health issues today?
 
Is it culture? Is it society? Is it that our lives are so pressured? Is it the overwhelming desire to conform to the model of the modern person that our media champions and the disappointment of the failure to meet that model.  Is it the grand aspirations and high expectations we place on ourselves and our children that eats into the personality of the person we were meant to be?  I’m sure it’s these things and more that lead to the dysfunction we’ve become so familiar with and accustomed to that it almost seems the norm. As a Christian I believe there is an alternative.
 
The bible tells us The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV). How does he do that? He saves us by giving us a heart transplant. It’s his specialty, in fact.
 
God says, “For the heart that’s guilty, I’ll give you a heart that’s forgiven. For the heart that’s resentful, I’ll give you a heart that’s full of peace. For the heart that’s anxious, I’ll give you heart that’s confident. For the heart that’s lonely, I’ll give you a heart full of love. The heart that has been bitter and angry? I’ll give you a heart that is forgiving and loving and generous instead. Let me do a heart transplant in you. I will set you free.”
 
Worth thinking about on those difficult days. Why not explore the possibilities. ALPHA starts in St Gabriel’s in September. Please feel free to come along and find out more.  Details are below.
 
 
Your friend and Vicar
 
Revd. Arthur

 



Sunday 18th August 2019

Luke 12:49-56

Jesus the Cause of Division

49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided:

father against son
    and son against father,
mother against daughter
    and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
    and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Time

54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?



Dear Friends August 2019

Dear Friends
 
Well what a month July has been for us as a church!  The month kicked off with a burglary when thieves broke into the church office and stole the safe containing our Christian Aid collection, communion silverware, marriage registers and some other bits and pieces of cash and keys.  How they managed to shift a safe made from 3inch thick steel and weighing almost three quarters of a ton I will never know – though I did consider phoning around the hospitals to see if anyone had come in with a hernia or bad back – there were no drag marks or wheel marks in the new carpet where they exited.  Damage and goods came to almost £8000.  Thankfully we have insurance and at the end of the day it was just stuff and no-one was hurt – praise God! The congregation, community and other churches have been absolutely brilliant in their support for us.
 
Following fast on the heels of the break-in we had our annual Summer Fair and what a wonderful day it was and so well supported by so many of you – thank you!  We try each year to introduce something new and this year we had a World Foods stall, a Prosecco and Beer Tent and some really yummy cream teas.  This was combined with lots of kids’ activities and a capital Grand Draw.  We owe a huge thank you to our organising committee and so many from the wider community who contributed prizes for the Grand Draw.
 
There is a real sense of movement taking place at St Gabriel’s.  As we continue to grow into our community with all the new facilities (check our new community garden) we are seeing more and more families joining the regular congregation as well as some returners.  It’s an exciting time and God is blessing His people in so many ways.  Jesus said “I have come that they may have life and life in all its abundance!” Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
 
Someone once said that we all have a God-shaped hole in our lives and we try to fill it with so much stuff that never really and truly fully fills that space.  I believe that! Please do come along and join us on any Sunday morning at 10.30am for a taster and see if it that ‘thing’ you’ve been looking for!
 
ALPHA will be running again starting in September – a unique opportunity to meet informally, listen to some stuff and then join a discussion to seek answers to those questions you’ve always wanted to ask about the Christian faith in a safe and non -judgemental environment.  No qualifications or previous experience required!
 
May you and your family enjoy a blessed and peaceful summer break.
 
Yours in Christ
 
Arthur