SERMON FOR SUNDAY THE 16TH MAY 2021

SERMON FOR SUNDAY THE 16TH MAY 2021

Easter VII 2021: Tixover and Zoom.

“and the lot fell on Matthias” Acts.1.26.

 

Local Elections.

We have just been to the polls and changed the life of one poor chap who will now be the Police Commissioner for our region.  With a small cross on a piece of paper, we will have done our civic duty. Can we assume that our man is equipped for the job? And what about the Hartlepool By-election? Does the massive swing guarantee that the new MP will be able to cut the mustard in Westminster? Isn’t this voting business a bit precarious?

 

The Election of Matthias.

We have just heard about another vote in the first century AD. Two candidates were put up to replace Judas who didn’t make the cut. The Church needed 12 apostles to follow the pattern of the 12 tribes of Israel but would Matthias be any good?  ‘The lot fell on Matthias’. We don’t know much about him after the election so we can assume that he kept his nose clean. For what it’s worth, you may like to know that the Greek for ‘lot’ – that’s the result of the voting – is “cleros” which is rather close to our word, ‘clergy’. It reminds me of a rather poor joke: that clergy are rather like manure.  In a heap they do no good at all, but spread arounds they might just be of some use.

From our reading this morning we do know that the two candidates had known Jesus. It was a condition that they had been in his company for some while to absorb his values and temperament. And before the vote we are told that 120 persons took time out to pray before casting their lots.  This suggests that the election was inspired by God in some way. It was not haphazard.

 

We don’t know much about Matthias but one biblical scholar tells us that he was ‘of secondary importance’(Blunt, 1923).  What does this mean?  Does it mean that he was inadequate or just a late comer to the larger band of disciples who followed Jesus around the Holy Land?

 

Church Elections.

We are about to begin our Church elections for wardens and PCC members. They will be conducted along similar lines to the election of Matthias. The church community has been praying for some time now that the right choices will be made to allow this parish/benefice to continue the ministry of Jesus among us. We all tend to idolize previous clergy or wardens or M.P’s and think that the present generation can’t be as good but that is not borne out by the facts. Our current crop of wardens and PCC members do an excellent job in conditions which have changed enormously from 20 years ago.  They are not ‘of secondary importance’. No one is perfect but our elected representatives – especially the wardens – are there to do a precise job, “to be foremost in representing the laity and in cooperating with the incumbent.” (Canon Law) That is a tricky line to follow but we have had on our screens just recently an excellent model of sensitive service.  The 3 main characters in ‘Line of Duty’ were appointed to catch ‘bent coppers’ but as fallible human beings as well as serving police officers they were prone to all manner of problems – failed marriages, financial issues, drugs – but they were aware of that. Their job was to be honest about themselves and honest with those with whom they dealt. 

Jesus didn’t choose saints to be his followers. They were rough fishermen and dodgy tax collectors.
They were appointed to do a job: to make saints of us and each other under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

We have to remember this imperfect nature of humanity when we think of standing for the PCC or warden.  We do it from our flawed humanity, not as saints.  It is silly to say, ‘I’m not good enough’ and arrogant to think that we should be saints already!

We have just celebrated the Ascension of Christ. His restricted presence in Jerusalem is now to be found everywhere and in the most unlikely people. That is why I am confident in our wardens and PCC members.  I have to listen to them and them to me. In that way, we can discern what course we are to take through life in this exciting and holy community. To God be the glory. Amen.

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 16th May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 16th May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

 Sunday 16th May 2021:  Easter VII

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Sylvia Martin, Margaret and Derek Barker, Suzie Clements, Judith Piggott and Jane Williams. Pray too for the departed, including Peter Bowser.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Next Sunday, 23rd May, we are in church at South Luffenham, 9.30am, Barrowden and Zoom at 11 am.
  • Last week, a bucket collection was held for the DEC India Appeal and £72 was raised. Thank you so much!
  • ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Compline Series at 8pm provides an opportunity for quiet prayer together for the development of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Join us and representatives of all 5 parishes at this candlelit service: Monday at Tixover, Tuesday at Barrowden, Wednesday at Duddington, Thursday at South Luffenham, Friday at Morcott and Saturday at Barrowden. Please wear a mask.

 

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

APCM’s Wednesday 19th May 6.30pm in Church.

Sunday 23rd May 9.30am Communion by Extension (AR).

Church is open daily from 10am-4pm.

 

 

MEDITATION: ‘Line of Duty’

Just before ‘Line of Duty’ falls away from our memories and we can begin to sleep easier in our beds, it’s worth a moment to reflect on some of the qualities to be found in the major characters. All three – Detective Inspector Steve Arnott, Detective Inspector Kate Fleming and Superintendent Ted Hastings – are flawed and yet they are expected to search out and eradicate ‘bent coppers’. That is the responsibility laid upon them by the Home Secretary and society. For us viewers it is quite obvious with spine-chilling intensity that they do their level best to battle the odds against their own temptations and the obstacles thrown in front of them by the villains and sometimes their own colleagues in the force. Broken marriages, money problems, an inappropriate fling or an explosive temper are all part of being human yet add to the frustrations of achieving the goal. No wonder those colourful expletives are sometimes heard: “Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the wee donkey!” The tension all adds to the excitement of life. But there is only tension if we acknowledge our weaknesses and at the same time set ourselves a goal. Like the violin string, the tension creates the attraction, the fun, the exhilaration.

 

No one is perfect. Life involves muddle and compromise even though we have a clearly stated goal, to live as Christ would have us live. And as we try to create the circumstances for a Christian community in our churches, we do well to remember the frailty of our leaders.  My favourite apostle is Peter: always getting it wrong yet it was Peter who was appointed the rock man on which The Church was founded.

 

 

Now is the time to appoint our new wardens and PCC members.  We are not looking for perfection, just the willingness to serve – the service which brings great joy.

 

            “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” Luke 17.10.

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

 

 

 

Sunday 2nd May 2021 

9.30 am Duddington Church                                              Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                            Morning worship  (AR)

 

Sunday 9th May 2021

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                                     Holy  Communion   (CA)

11.00am  Zoom Service                                                              Morning Worship   (CA)

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30pm South Luffenham Church                                            Holy Communion   (CA)

 

Sunday 16th May

9.s0am Tixover Church                                                                 Holy Communion (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                         Holy communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00am Zoom Service                                                                     Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Sunday 23rd May 

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                        Holy Communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00 am  Barrowden Church                                                           Holy Communion (CA)

11..00 am  Zoom  from Barrowden Chur                                 Morning worship        (CA)

 

  • Sunday 30th May 2021

10.00 am Morcott Church                                                        Holy Communion  (CA)(AR)

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

SUNDAY SERVICES FOR 16TH MAY 2021

SUNDAY SERVICES FOR 16TH MAY 2021

Sunday services for 16th May  the seventh Sunday of Easter

 

9.30am Tixover Church                                               Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                           Holy Communion by extension (AR)

1.00 am  Zoom Service                                                  Morning Worship (CA)

Readings :  Acts.2. 15 – 17 21 – end  1 John 5. 9 – 13   John 17. 6 – 19

  •  

     

  • Week day services
  • Compline is a short form of late evening service originating from the monastic tradition.  We shall be holding Compline services by candlelight around the Benefice daily from Ascension Day (13 May) until Pentecost (23 May) at 8pm. All are welcome to join representatives of all our churches.  The venues are as follows:

                                    14 May                 Morcott

                                    15                           South Luffenham

                                    17                           Tixover

                                    18                           Barrowden

                                    19                           Duddington

                                    20                           South Luffenham

                                    21                           Morcott

                                    22                           Barrowden.

    This is part of Thy Kingdom Come – an initiate begun by our archbishops and now followed ecumenically by churches all around the world to pray for church growth. Although our statistics are not showing serious decline in this benefice, we cannot afford to be complacent.

  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

 

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.  Sunday 9th May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.  Sunday 9th May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices.

 Sunday 9th May 2021:  Easter VI

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Sylvia Martin, Margaret and Derek Barker, Suzie Clements and Jane Williams. Pray too for the departed, including Peter Bowser.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Thursday 13th is Ascension Day. The Eucharist will be celebrated at South Luffenham, 7.30pm.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at Tixover, 9.30am, Morcott at 11 am and on Zoom at 11 am.
  • Last week, a bucket collection was held for the DEC India Appeal and £125 was raised. Thank you so much!
  • ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Compline Series, starts Friday 14 May at Morcott Church, 8pm –an opportunity for quiet prayer together for the development of God’s Kingdom here on earth. Join us and representatives of all 5 parishes at this candlelit service. Please wear a mask. Compline will be held each night – apart from Sunday – at 8pm around the benefice until Pentecost, 23rd See Parish Magazines for venues. South Luffenham is the venue for 15th May at 8pm.

 

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

Sunday 9th May 9.30am Holy Communion (CA).
Thursday 13th May 7.30pm Ascension Day Communion (CA).
Sunday 23rd May 9.30am Communion by Extension (AR).
APCM’s Wednesday 19th May 6.30pm in Church.
Church is open daily from 10am-4pm.

 

MEDITATION: Compline

 

Do you long for company in these dreary and isolating times? Or calm amid the clamour of domestic life?

 

The short service of Compline might be your answer. Compline is the last service in the monastic routine, ‘completing’ the day. Often it was held in a monastic dormitory in candlelight. Archaeologists have discovered scorch marks on dormitory walls where monks have been overtaken by sleep. The connection between prayer and sleep is an important one.  It is difficult to meditate under pressure. Relaxation in prayer is important for it is not just what we say or long for but what God might be saying to us, for us to ‘hear’.

 

The beauty of Compline is its quietness. It is unhurried, calm, prayerful with silence providing the space for godly thoughts to emerge. Yet there is also structure: there is the slow rhythm of the service. There is one another. It is so encouraging to be able to pray in the company of others. The silence takes on a greater depth and yet the company provides an alertness for prayer to be focussed: prayer in silence or shared.  During the pandemic, I for one have enormously valued the company of others during our smaller Zoom services.

 

This week – during the time between Ascension Day and Pentecost – ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ begins. It is a world-wide movement of prayer which began 5 years ago to encourage more people to come to know Jesus Christ. We shall be participating this year by holding Compline by candlelight around our 5 churches at 8 pm every night except Sunday from 14 – 22 May.

 

If you haven’t experienced Compline before, then why not give it a try?  The service lasts about 15 minutes. There is no sermon and no singing for most of us – just the chance to relax into a prayerful atmosphere to be carried along by the gentle rhythm of the service and caressed by the silence in a place ‘where prayer has been valid’.

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

 

 

 

Sunday 2nd May 2021 

9.30 am Duddington Church                                              Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                            Morning worship  (AR)

 

Sunday 9th May 2021

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                                     Holy  Communion   (CA)

11.00am  Zoom Service                                                              Morning Worship   (CA)

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30pm South Luffenham Church                                            Holy Communion   (CA)

 

Sunday 16th May

9.s0am Tixover Church                                                                 Holy Communion (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                         Holy communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00am Zoom Service                                                                     Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Sunday 23rd May 

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                        Holy Communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00 am  Barrowden Church                                                           Holy Communion (CA)

11..00 am  Zoom  from Barrowden Chur                                 Morning worship        (CA)

 

  • Sunday 30th May 2021

10.00 am Morcott Church                                                        Holy Communion  (CA)(AR)

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom

 

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 9TH MAY 2021

BENEFICE SERVICES FOR SUNDAY 9TH MAY 2021

Sunday services for the sixth Sunday of Easter 

 

 

9.30 am  South Luffenham Church                     Holy communion (CA)

11.00am Zoom service                                             Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Readings:  Acts 10. 44 – end    1 John 5. 1 – 6    John 15 . 9 – 17

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30 pm  South Luffenham                                    Holy Communion (CA)

Readings: Acts 1. 1 – 11 Eph. 1. 15 – end  Luke 24. 44 – end

 

  • Week day services
  • Compline is a short form of late evening service originating from the monastic tradition.  We shall be holding Compline services by candlelight around the Benefice daily from Ascension Day (13 May) until Pentecost (23 May) at 8pm. All are welcome to join representatives of all our churches.  The venues are as follows:

                                    14 May                 Morcott

                                    15                           South Luffenham

                                    17                           Tixover

                                    18                           Barrowden

                                    19                           Duddington

                                    20                           South Luffenham

                                    21                           Morcott

                                    22                           Barrowden.

    This is part of Thy Kingdom Come – an initiate begun by our archbishops and now followed ecumenically by churches all around the world to pray for church growth. Although our statistics are not showing serious decline in this benefice, we cannot afford to be complacent.

  •  
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom
SERMON FOR EASTER 5 2ND MAY 2021

SERMON FOR EASTER 5 2ND MAY 2021

TALK FOR EASTER 5B 2021

One of the things that I enjoyed very much when we were in France was to see the vineyards, especially in Epernay where the champagne grapes are grown. One year we went later in the year and saw the grapes harvested and great lorry loads tipped into the crusher. The end result was good too!

In Biblical times vines were also very important. The ground needed to be prepared and the plants nurtured, with the vines two metres apart to allow for growth. They were pruned and trained in different ways. The branches which were cut off were useless because the wood is too soft for it to be used for anything and so can simply be destroyed by burning. The branches which remained were strong and bore fruit. Sometimes the bunches of grapes were so large that they were carried on a staff between two men. The vineyards were often guarded by watch towers and vines were one of the seven species God gave to Israel in the promised land. Wine was not for pleasure but was often drunk with the stale water from the cisterns.

The vines were also used symbolically for God’s people of Israel. The fruitful vine represented obedience to God but Jeremiah showed the other side. He wrote in ch 2 v 21: I planted you like a choice vine from the very best seed. But look what you have become! You are like a rotten, worthless vine. Didn’t mince his words about Israel’s wickedness!

So the Jews were familiar with the symbolism of the vine and here we have Jesus saying that he is the true vine and we are the branches and can either be fruitful or be cut off. What a terrible picture of being cut off from Christ!

The word which stands out in the reading we heard from St John is abide. It is used eight times in the few verses and has a great impact. It has several meanings: to bear, tolerate; to withstand; to await; to accept without objection. When Jesus asks us to abide in him he is inviting us to remain in a deep relationship with him, to accept his invitation. It is a most beautiful invitation!

I am the true vine is one of the seven I am sayings of Jesus. I am the way, the truth and the life, the gate and the good shepherd among the others. He states that we are the branches and we have the choice as to whether we are useless or fruitful. We can refuse his invitation, we can accept it and pay lip service to him or we can run away from him. How often do we do these things?

So how do we abide in him? Jesus spent much of his time in solitary places with his Father and refreshed both his relationship with his Father and gained strength for what was happening in his life. To maintain our relationship with Christ we need to make time to be with him. Relationships do not flourish unless the effort is made to keep in touch and that is what it is like with Christ. Prayer can be difficult and some say that we should only pray when we feel like it! W.E.Sangster quotes Forbes Robinson as saying : Do not mind about feelings…We do not want to feel better and stronger; we want to be better and stronger. We would not miss an appointment with a friend so how can we be less courteous to our Lord?

We must also be ready for the pruning fork. If we look at our innermost selves we will probably see a very murky looking place where there is much that needs to be sorted out. We cannot do that on our own because it is too easy to continue as we always have; we like a quiet life. That is not what Christ offers us but he offers us so much more.

We are now at the 5th week of Easter and we need to sustain that experience of utmost joy we shared on Easter Sunday. The Sunday after Easter is known as Low Sunday because it almost seems like an anti-climax and as Easter fades it is too easy to slip back into our old ways. But Jesus offers us great love to help us retain the momentum. He invites us to abide in him, to remain in his love and that involves obedience. We stray far from him and so we must allow him to prune out whatever is bad in our lives and accept that, knowing that he loves each one of us more than we will know. Let us accept his command to abide in him and he in us.

Risen Lord, you are the true vine and we are the branches. By your Spirit, produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, and patience in us for others to taste and enjoy. Keep us from hanging on to love for ourselves. Prune all selfishness from us and fill us with your love. Amen.

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 2nd May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices  Sunday 2nd May 2021

The Welland-Fosse Benefice: Prayers and Notices

 Sunday 2nd May 2021:  Easter V

 

  • Please remember in your prayers those who are sick: Ray Bailey, Jean Bowser; Sylvia Martin, Margaret and Derek Barker, Suzie Clements and Jane Williams. Pray to for the departed, including Peter Bowser.
  • Pray too for our PCC’s preparing for their Annual Meetings.
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am.
  • Next Sunday we are in church at South Luffenham, 9.30am and on Zoom at 11 am
  • The Rev. Dr Sam Wells (Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields) is giving the first Peckard Lecture for Peterborough Cathedral on Zoom, 6 May at 7.30pm. Book via the Cathedral Website. He is very good and worth £7!

 

MORCOTT: the church will be open for prayer every day from 1st May.

SOUTH LUFFENHAM:

Sunday 9th May 9.30am Holy Communion (CA).

Thursday 13th May 7.30pm Ascension Day Communion (CA).

Sunday 23rd May 9.30am Communion by Extension (AR).

APCM’s WEDNESDAY 19th MAY 6.30pm in Church.

Church is open daily from 10am-4pm.

 

MEDITATION:

Time is a very strange concept, isn’t it? During the various degrees of lockdown time has become even more extraordinary and often quite difficult for many. We use many phrases about time; take your time, as we rush to get everything done; don’t waste time as we enjoy a few idle moments; time will heal as we suffer and Benjamin Franklin said time is money.

 

However, we look at time it is important to all of us and even more significant is what we do with it. At the beginning of the first lockdown I made a list of all the things I could do in the enforced interval; I think I can cross one thing off! What are we supposed to do with time? I’ll leave each one of you to answer that question!

 

W.H.Davies wrote a poem called Leisure which epitomises time. Here is part of it:

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

Many of us during recent times have spent more time appreciating the beautiful natural world around us. We often need to spend time simply being and there are often times when we need something beyond ourselves. When life is difficult there is an answer. The writer of Hebrews wrote (Hebrews ch 4 v 16):  Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Let us come to God who is always with us.

 

 

See wellandfosse.org for much more information, including contact details for

The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong and the churchwardens

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

WELLAND FOSSE BENEFICE SERVICES FOR MAY 2021

 

 

 

Sunday 2nd May 2021 

9.30 am Duddington Church                                              Holy Communion  (CA)

11.00am   Zoom Service                                                            Morning worship  (AR)

 

Sunday 9th May 2021

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                                     Holy  Communion   (CA)

11.00am  Zoom Service                                                              Morning Worship   (CA)

 

Thursday 13th May Ascension Day

7.30pm South Luffenham Church                                            Holy Communion   (CA)

 

Sunday 16th May

9.s0am Tixover Church                                                                 Holy Communion (CA)

11.00am Morcott church                                         Holy communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00am Zoom Service                                                                     Morning Worship  (CA)

 

Sunday 23rd May 

9.30am  South Luffenham Church                        Holy Communion by Extension  (AR)

11.00 am  Barrowden Church                                                     Holy Communion (CA)(AR)

11..00 am  Zoom  from Barrowden Church                                                                                   

 

  • Sunday 30th May 2021

10.00 am Morcott Church                                                        Holy Communion  (CA)(AR)

 

  • Week day services
  • Zoom Morning Prayer continues on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30 am., Contact Christopher at   chris.armstrong60@yahoo.com for an invitation.
  • Compline will be said on Thursday  at 6pm.  If you would like an invitation, contact Sally Smith. sally@saltlanecom