Weekly newsletter: April 11th 2021

The Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist, Wingates

 

                       

 

11 April  2021

             

The Second Sunday of Easter

                       

Holy Communion

 

Acts 4:32-35

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there was no needy person among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

 

John 20 : 19-31

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 27 Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 28 Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29 Then

Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God the Father.

 

Post Communion

Lord God our Father, through our Saviour Jesus Christ you have assured your children of eternal life and in baptism have made us one with him: deliver us from the death of sin and raise us to new life in your love, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

***************************************************************

Alan Morris Homily – 11th April 2021

 

In the days when centimetres were inches and kilograms were pounds, I served an apprenticeship with what was then De Havilland Propellers.  As such we felt obliged to keep up to date with events in the aircraft industry.  So, there was great excitement when the first official photographs appeared in the media of the Avro Vulcan with its revolutionary delta shape.  I little imagined that one day I would sit in the cockpit of this aircraft - albeit firmly attached to Terra Firma.  Some other people had their first view of this phenomenon under different circumstances.  One of these was my Uncle John who on seeing the photographs in the newspaper confided in me that he had seen this plane earlier.  He had been walking with his dog on “The Moss” before going to work and had seen this strange shape in the sky and thinking it could be a UFO had told no one because, as he said, “nobody would believe me”.

 

How often do we hear “I don’t believe it”, not only on hearing bad news but also good news?  A statement heard long before it came to be uttered by the cantankerous Victor Meldrew who used it as his catch phrase on TV’s “One Foot in the Grave”.  So many phrases now in common use owe their origins to scripture that we use them without realising.  But the words spoken by Thomas have secured for him a place in history as Doubting Thomas. 

 

I like Thomas because he makes me feel good about my faith.  If a man who had spent time in the company of Jesus, heard him speak to the crowds, seen him heal the sick, comfort the bereaved and foretell his death and resurrection, could doubt the claims of his fellow disciples, then there is hope for me.

 

I think the reason Thomas refused to believe was because what his companions were saying was just too good to be true.  In a way Thomas was not alone.  Why was he not with the others when the risen Jesus appeared?  Could it be that he thought it was all over?  After all, Peter at one point after the crucifixion had said, “I’m going fishing” and on the road to Emmaus the travellers were leaving the city behind them in a mood of despair, perhaps thinking it was

good while it lasted.  Hardly the actions of men who had been commanded to spread the word and carry on the work that Jesus had begun.  It seems that Jesus knew that after the events of Good Friday, the disciples needed a further injection of faith, a booster if you like, to equip them for their new ministry.  It was the poet John Donne who said, “Doubt is actually the voice of God in our conscience - causing us to ask the important questions”. Also, Jesus said, “ask and you will receive”.  God keeps His promises and the answers will come to those who ask, and listen.

 

Importantly, Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his lack of faith.  He Himself had known and experienced all the emotions that we feel or will feel at some point in our lives.  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” was a cry from the heart, if only for a moment in time.  A cry that if and when we may utter it, we can know that Jesus himself knows the feeling.  Just as He knows every emotion we have had or will have.  During the time that the disciples were with Jesus, they must each have had their own views and opinions as their relationships developed.  Peter seems to be one of the first to recognise who Jesus was and said, in answer to a question, “You are the Christ”, then went on to deny him, although out of fear for his own safety rather than disbelief.  Judas who betrayed him because Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that Judas wanted.  Then Thomas, who when the penny dropped, at last declared “My Lord and my GOD.”

 

At the risk of facing criticism, could there not be an echo of this statement of Thomas’s when faced with some momentous event or news that we often hear said or texted - OMG?  Fanciful perhaps, but strange is it not, that, at such times, it is the name of God, before all others, that comes to mind?

 

A more recent author, Terry Pratchett, writes a “throw-away line” in one of his books.  It is “A person is not dead as long as his name is spoken.”  We speak the name of Jesus regularly in our worship and hopefully in our daily lives, not just to perpetuate the name but to witness to the victory of the cross, the fact of the resurrection and the promise of the hope of Heaven.

 

The thing that stands out in my memory of sitting in that Vulcan cockpit, apart from the claustrophobia, is the fact that it seems almost impossible to see the ground on landing and take-off.  The pilot must rely on the other four members of the crew, the instrumentation, the builders but ultimately the skill of the designer for their safety and ability to carry out their mission.  For us, we have the testament of over 2,000 years of witnesses who lived with “My Lord and my God” on their lips and in their lives from that first Easter Day and

 

      *****************************************************

Zoom Coffee mornings

On Sunday mornings at 11.30 we hold a coffee morning on Zoom to which members of all churches in the Team are invited. For  access codes, please email Carol. Come along and join us!

Christian Aid Area Coordinator

After 37 years in the role, Brian Palin from St James' Daisy Hill is looking to retire from the role of Westhoughton Churches Area Coordinator for Christian Aid.  If you are interested in taking on this important role, or know someone who might, from next year, please get in touch with Carol.  Brian would be happy to speak to you about what the role entails.

This year Christian Aid Week is 10th - 16th May.  Due to COVID_19, no house to house collections can take place.  If you would like to do something else to raise some funds for this charity on behalf of our churches, again please get in touch.  Thank you.

 

Revd Carol H Pharaoh

Team Rector Blackrod, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton & Wingates Team

 

*************************************************************************

FOOD COLLECTIONS   Urban Outreach say thank you for your support. 

You can bring your donations with you when you come to a Sunday Service in any of our churches. Just place your donations in the Grub Tubs provided.  You can also bring donations to St John’s, Wingates between 10 – 11 am on the first and third Saturdays of every month. (Next collection day Saturday  17 April 2021)

You might find it easier to make a financial donation to Urban Outreach.  You can do this via their website  https://www.urbanoutreach.co.uk/

*************************************************************