Newsletter – 22 November 2020

Sunday Letter

Benefice of Padstow & Trevone,

St. Merryn, & St Issey with Little Petherick

During this extraordinary time, we thought our congregations might appreciate an emailed letter with the prayers and readings for the Sunday and a short devotional piece, as a way of keeping us together and sharing any thoughts we may have.

Sunday November 22nd Christ the King

Collect

Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;

who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.   Amen.

First Reading              Ezekiel 34.11-16, 20-24

The Good Shepherd cares for the flock’s weakest members while condemning those who trample down their companions to further their own self interest.

Second Reading         Ephesians 1:15-23

Whatever good we do, whatever power we wield, the ultimate authority over Church and creation is God’s alone, dispensed through Christ.

Gospel                          Matthew 25:31-46

Compassion is the keystone of Christ’s rule:  constant alertness and responsiveness to the needs of others are required of all who are committed to building his kingdom.

Reflection

Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.   This brings us to the end of another year in the Church calendar when, for the most part, we have been focusing on Matthew’s Gospel, giving his account of the life of Jesus. 

But what does it mean to say that Christ is king?   It is an image of power, which does not sit comfortably alongside our image of Jesus as loving, kind, generous and forgiving.   At first glance it looks like a picture of a king in judgement.   Christ the King, sitting on his throne at the end of time, judging the people as they stand before him.   But how will he judge them:  who will be rewarded and who will be punished?

We can all think of people who we consider to be worthy of being rewarded.   We may even dare to hope that we may be amongst their number.   But the people the king singles out are not those who have done great works or made significant achievements.   They are the ones who have loved their neighbours as themselves, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick or those in prison.   And those who receive punishment are condemned not for anything they have done, but for what they have not done.  They have not fed the hungry, clothed the naked or visited the sick or those in prison.   Perhaps they were too busy caring for their own families, going to work, enjoying their leisure time, living their own lives quietly and not doing anything wrong.   But for the King that is not enough.

In his kingdom the values are not what we would expect.   In his kingdom judgement is made according to how people have gone out of their way to help those who, for various reasons, are unable to help themselves.   The king is firmly in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets who announced God’s judgement on a society that ignored the needs of its weakest members.

This parable paints us a picture, the elements of which we do not need to take literally.   We may not believe that Christ the King consigns people to eternal fire.   We may not believe that when we meet Christ he will literally sit on a throne like a king.   But we are challenged to take seriously the main point the parable is making:  that when we meet Christ, he will want to know what care we have taken of the weakest of his brothers and sisters, for it is in serving other people that we serve Christ.   If, as we believe, Christ is the King, then all our fellow human beings are royalty too, and we are called to love each one, as Christ in God loves us.

One last thought – today is also known as Stir-up Sunday, as reflected in today’s post communion prayer.   It traditionally became a day when everyone made their Christmas puddings, and I always held a service when all the Sunday school children came to help.   Not so many people make their own puddings these days as there are some very good ones on sale in the shops, but perhaps like us, some of you have taken advantage of the lockdown to make yours.

Post Communion Prayer

Stir up, O Lord,

the wills of your faithful people;

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by you be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER

Workers in health and social care and emergency services, local GPs, all keyworkers.

Our Benefice with all its communities

Our new Rector – Revd Ian Gulland and his family Schools – teachers, children and parents

Those losing jobs, or facing financial difficulty

Those with mental health problems

Church – worldwide, Diocese and Benefice

World – peace, equality and justice for all

– those affected by Coronavirus                   

Suffering – all who are sick, anxious, lonely

– refugees and all who are homeless

Radio 4   8.10am   Sunday Worship

Online video services:

www.churchofengland.org 

www.trurocathedral.org   (Video Recorded Services page)  

www.kerdh.co.uk for readings, prayers & reflections.

Facebook pages:

United Benefice of Padstow, St Merryn St Issey

St Columb Minor & St. Colan Parish Churches

Facebook Newquay Online Church

https://www.facebook.com/groups/690831511862960/

United Benefice of West Kerrier

Wednesday Morning Prayer 9.00am by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

Sunday 22nd Teatime Service 4.00pm by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

PRAYERS FOR THIS TIME

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us

from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray to Almighty God,

who alone makes us dwell in safety.

For all who are affected by coronavirus,

through illness or isolation or anxiety,

that they may find relief and recovery …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies that they may make wise decisions, and that all people will be considerate of others …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,

that through their skill and insights

many will be restored to health …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

For a blessing on our homes and families, and our local communities, that all who need help will be known and cared for …

Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We commend ourselves,

and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s