Newsletter – 21 February 2021

Sunday Letter

Benefice of Padstow & Trevone,

St. Merryn, & St Issey with Little Petherick

Collect and Reflection for Sunday February 21st 2021

The First Sunday of Lent

Collect

Almighty God,

whose Son Jesus Christ fasted forty days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are, yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves

in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,

so may we know your power to save;
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.

Reflection

Believe!

Read John 3.1-16

I am sure you have noticed that many health signs include the image of a staff and snake. If you haven’t noticed this before it is worth looking out for it! It seems an odd symbol. Why would a snake on a staff be a symbol of healing?

The answer is found in Numbers 21.8-9 (look it up!), which is an account of the Israelites wandering in the desert and a moment when they disobeyed God. In his sovereign justice he has no choice but to be just and punish them. It wasn’t a moment of blind rage but was intended to get his wayward nation to look to him. God commands Moses to create a bronze snake and hold it up and all who looked on the snake would be healed. It is as if the threat of death will be passed over to the snake. God doesn’t just want to get their attention; God wants them to know that he wants a close relationship with them and wants to give life.

Turning to the passage before us today we see an analogy used to explain the role of Jesus, in his own words. He says that ‘the Son of Man must be lifted up, that all who believes in him may have eternal life.’ and he is compared to the snake being lifted high (John 3.14). On the face of it this seems a little odd but Jesus, who has been part of the Father’s plan all along knows what is to come and why. He is speaking in terms that his listeners will understand. But there is a vital difference, instead of temporarily saving people from an early death (they all later died), Jesus is saving them for something that is eternal: life. But reading on we see that it is not simply Jesus offering to save us, rather it is an expression of God’s deep love as we see in those well-known words of John 3.16 ‘For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son’.

God loves us, he doesn’t want us to perish. The Good News goes further than simply being saved, what is on offer is a deep and close relationship with God. Jesus invitation isn’t simply to look on him and have a distant belief, rather it is an offer to have an real and eternal relationship. Even when our earthly bodies wear out, if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, he promises something no one else can give; it up to us to grasp hold of the promise. Just as those Israelites could only be saved if they looked on the snake, only those who believe can experience this new life. It is striking that this whole passage is a discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus and Jesus is offering the gift of being ‘born again’.

Lent is a time of preparation and reorientation. It is a time to draw closer to the source of real hope and life, Jesus. He offers intimacy and love. Jesus challenged the legalistic and ‘religious’ mindset of Nicodemus and offered him the opportunity to be born again, that same offer is for each of us to grab hold of. But this requires us to acknowledge that we need Jesus.

In the week ahead why not reread this passage and consider what it means to believe in Jesus. If he really is our saviour, if he really is our King then it means we need to bend the knee and allow him to be lifted up in our life. It also means that if Jesus is the head of the church, we like Nicodemus need to be willing to let him set the direction for our lives and the life of his church.

The invitation is to believe, spend time with your King and listen to what he is saying.

“This story is a type of the whole mystery of the incarnation.

For the serpent signifies bitter and deadly sin, which was devouring the whole race on the earth…biting the soul of man and infusing it with the venom of wickedness.

And there is no way that we could have escaped being conquered by it, except by the relief that comes only from heaven.  The Word of God then made in the likeness of sinful flesh, “that he might condemn sin in the flesh, “as it is written(Romans 8.3).”

-Cyril of Alexandria (c.376-444)

Do join us as we go on this journey through Lent together; a time of ensuring he is King and leading us.

For daily Lent readings and reflections, we are following ‘The Glory of the Cross’ by Tim Chester [www.thegoodbook.co.uk/the-glory-of-the-cross and Amazon, Eden.co.uk]

We will have a weekly Tuesday evening Lent reflection led by Ian (7pm), please join in.

Every blessing for the week ahead.

Ian

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 Recordings 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

Sunday Morning Worship 10.00am by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for links   giorlaf@outlook.com

PRAYERS FOR THIS TIME

Gracious God,
as we remember before you the

thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn with

your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and to face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen 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.

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