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Sunday, 7 November 2021
This morning we had our Family Service at 10 am on a lovely sunny autumn morning. The Church was full, with the families sitting in the transepts, and the choir were spread over the pews at the back, every one still wearing masks against covid. We sang some familiar hymns, and Father Roger gave his address from the alter steps to include all the families. He spoke about the story of Jonah and the Big Fish, and how God calls us to do his work in our community.
The Junior Choristers sang the solo in the anthem 'Lead me Lord' with two of the sopranos, and we closed our service by singing 'The Lord of the Dance' 

There was coffee after the service.

Next week is Remembrance  Sunday, The Archdeacon will be with us for our act of worship in remembrance of the fallen will start at 10:45 in Church, encompass the 2 minutes silence at 11:00 am and conclude with the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial in the Church yard. All are welcome at the service and at the wreath laying.

Do buy tickets for the Grand Draw, now available from Mrs Janet Harland, and put December 4th from 11 to 3 in your diary and join us at the Christmas Market.

The Choir, Senior and Junior preparing for the service.

 Hebrews 9:24-28

A reading from the letter to the Hebrews.

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands,
a mere copy of the true one, 
but he entered into heaven itself, 
now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 

Nor was it to offer himself again and again, 
as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year 
with blood that is not his own; 

for then he would have had to suffer again and again 
since the foundation of the world. 
But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age 
to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 

And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, 
and after that the judgment, 

so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, 
will appear a second time, 
not to deal with sin, 
but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Mark 1:14-20

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.

 After John was arrested, 
Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,

and saying, 
“The time is fulfilled, 
and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news.”

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, 
he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—
for they were fishermen. 

And Jesus said to them, 
“Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 

And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 

As he went a little farther, 
he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, 
who were in their boat mending the nets. 

Immediately he called them; 
and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, 
and followed him.


That story was right from the start of when Jesus became famous. He wanted some people to travel round with him. The first people he found were Simon and his brother Andrew who were fishermen. Simon got a new name. Jesus called him ‘Peter’. The next people Jesus asked were James and his brother John, two more fishermen. They all agreed to join up with him. They felt that there was something special about Jesus, and God wanted them to work with him. So, Jesus already had four of his twelve apostles.

At this service we often read only one story from the Bible, but you can read up to three. One of the others for today is a story that most of you will know. It's on the same theme of being called to work with God, but in this case, the person asked messes up!

It's the story of Jonah in the Old Testament. In the centuries before Jesus, one job you'd rather not have, was to be one of God's prophets. The prophets had to tell people messages from God. Often people didn't like getting the messages, they were usually about behaving better. And people often did nasty things to the prophets.

Oh dear, Jonah felt that God wanted him to be a prophet. And, worse than that, God wanted him to leave the Holy Land and go to another country, to a city called Nineveh, and tell tens of thousands of foreigners to behave better, or else God would punish them. ‘Disaster’, thinks Jonah. ‘I don't want the job. If I go, they won't take any notice of me, and they might do horrible things to me. In any case, I hate foreigners. I don't want anything to do with them. I don't want my God to bother with them either. I've got to get out of this!’ Jonah makes a cunning plan. 

The country where Nineveh is, is to the north-east. ‘I'll get on a boat in the opposite direction. I'll have a break in Spain. If I get away from God's Holy Land, perhaps then he'll forget about me and this job he wants me to do.’ So Jonah finds a boat going to Spain and pays for a place on it. The other people on board are not all Jews like him, but they’re from all sorts of places. Then there's a very big storm and they are likely to sink, and all be drowned. They think, ‘someone must have upset one of the gods, - that's causing the storm’. So, they have a sort of raffle, and Jonah's name comes out. ‘You must be the one, Jonah’, they say. ‘Which God do you worship?’ ‘I worship the God of the Jews, the Hebrews’, says Jonah. ‘Oh dear’, they say, ‘he is a serious God, an important God’. ‘You must throw me overboard’, says Jonah. ‘If you get rid of me, things might settle down, and everyone else will be safe’. They don't like that idea, it seems very unfair to Jonah, but in the end they throw Jonah overboard and the sea goes better.

But God has not given up on Jonah. He sends along the big fish to gobble him up. (Not a whale). So, Jonah is in the dark inside the fish, and perhaps not very warm. You are lucky that you are not here a couple of hundred years ago. Then, you might have sung the hymn about Jonah inside the fish. It goes like this: “My God this is an awesome place, without coal or candle, with only fishes' tripes to eat, and fishes' tripes to handle”.

Jonah is now thinking that he'd better try to work with God, and he says some prayers. God gets the fish to cough him up on land. God still wants him to go to Nineveh, and he thinks he'd better. But he's still in an awkward mood. ‘If I go and tell all those horrible foreigners to behave, they won't take any notice, then .... Oh good......God will marmalise them, zap them, sizzle them. I'll really enjoy that,’ thinks Jonah,’ ‘because I hate foreigners!’

So Jonah gets to Nineveh, and he gets a shock. The people listen. They turn to God. They behave. God doesn't sizzle, zap or marmalise them. Jonah is really fed up, he'd been looking forward to that! So he wanders out into the desert and sulks. A big plant starts growing next to him. ‘That's good’, thinks Jonah. ‘I really like this plant, and it's giving me some shade from the hot sun.’
There are a few of us here who like plants and get very keen on them, and I do too. Here's one of my favourites, it's starting to die off a bit for the winter. Earlier in the year has nice red and orange striped leaves and bright orange flowers.

Then, in the story, God sent a caterpillar to nibble the stem of Jonah's plant, and it fell over and died. ‘Oh, my best plant’, said Jonah, ‘that's very sad’. Then Jonah realised what God was saying to him: ‘You were bothered about your plant, but I care for about 120,000 people and a lot of animals in Nineveh. And so should you. You should care about foreigners’. Jonah realised that God is God of everywhere. You can't get away from him by travelling for miles. And if you think God wants you to do something, you need think about it properly!

Fr Roger

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  2. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  3. Prayer for today.
  4. The C of E youtube channel.
  5. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  6. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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