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Sunday, 16 January 2022
This morning our 10 am service was a said Matins, conducted by Father Roger. We were able to sing some hymns, thanks to our stand in accompanist Sylvia, but the Canticles and the psalm set for the day were said. Father Roger spoke about the second lesson, and the Women of Macedonia including Lydia, who used their talents to make purple die, he made the point that work, paid or voluntary brings us closer to reflecting the glory of God. You can read the full text at the bottom of this entry.

There was coffee after the service.
We have had some frosty mornings in the churchyard!







8 am Holy Communion
 
1 Corinthians 12: 1-11

A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters,
I do not want you to be uninformed. 

You know that when you were pagans, 
you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 

Therefore I want you to understand 
that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” 
and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 

and there are varieties of activities, 
but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit 
for the common good. 

To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, 
and to another the utterance of knowledge 
according to the same Spirit, 

to another faith by the same Spirit, 
to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 

to another the working of miracles, 
to another prophecy, 
to another the discernment of spirits, 
to another various kinds of tongues, 
to another the interpretation of tongues. 

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, 
who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.


John 2:1-11

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

There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, 
and the mother of Jesus was there. 

Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 

When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, 
“They have no wine.” 

And Jesus said to her, 
“Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? 
My hour has not yet come.” 

His mother said to the servants, 
“Do whatever he tells you.” 

Now standing there were six stone water jars 
for the Jewish rites of purification, 
each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 

Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” 
And they filled them up to the brim. 

He said to them, “Now draw some out, 
and take it to the chief steward.” 
So they took it. 

When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, 
and did not know where it came from 
(though the servants who had drawn the water knew), 
the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, 

“Everyone serves the good wine first, 
and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. 
But you have kept the good wine until now.” 

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, 
and revealed his glory; 
and his disciples believed in him.


10am Matins

Isaiah 49:1-7

1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.


Acts 16:11-15

11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.


Homily

In Acts 16, St Luke is talking about the missionary work which he and St Paul were doing:
On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Lydia is a rather special person in the Bible. When St Paul and St Luke came to Macedonia, Lydia may well have been the very first European to be baptised. She was head of a household, which means she had probably lost her husband, and the household would be family and servants and slaves. The tone was set by the head of the household. A whole household would be baptised and become Christian together. 

Roman Emperors and kings wore purple clothing, which was thought of as special. Lydia sold purple cloth. She was, it seems, a high-powered businesswoman, in a world where men tended to dominate. 

Purple dye was very expensive, you got it from some sort of gunge coming from certain sea snails when they’re cross. So it was not easy to get the dye in quantity and it cost a lot. Emperors and Kings and rich people wore the purple cloth to show off their wealth. And one great thing about this dye was said to be that it is that it didn’t fade, but it actually got brighter over time. Bishops also took to purple.

Lydia showed St Paul and his friends hospitality. After that Paul got into bother, as good Christian leaders tend to, and was put in prison for a bit, but, when he got out, he went back to see Lydia and her folk again before he moved on.

I remember a happy occasion baptising a child called Lydia at Donnington. I also remember, less joyously, a certain bishop’s wife called Lydia! Passing swiftly on…. we must focus on our Lydia, the one in our reading. A businesswoman. It is said to have been Napoleon, but quite possibly another Frenchman, who, in 1700s, spoke of the English as a nation of shopkeepers. Une nation de boutiquiers. The point seeming to be that strength and security can be built on trading, and there is something good about providing for yourself, and perhaps others, by running a thriving business and using your energy and your range of skills to do it.

My ancestors were certainly not short of such people. On my Father’s mother’s side there were bakers in Sidlesham in Victorian times. But my mother’s folk were also active, in Kent and Hampshire. Like many others around 1915, in the first world War, my mother, aged 11, passed – not, in those days, the 11+ exam, to go to Grammar School, - which would have suited her – but the exam to show that you had learnt enough to leave school and were ready to enter the world of work. When fully grown my mother was 5’1, 155 cm, and doubtless much less, aged 11 in 1915. But she was enterprising, went straight to night school, learnt cooking, won a prize of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book, and got jobs. By the second war she was running a grocery shop. Her mother and her aunt had each been doing the same. In due course she gave up the shop and got married, and I was born. My grandmother’s shop was bombed, but I knew my great aunt’s shop in the 40s and 50s. My Mother never lived to see either of her grandsons, or to know them, also being enterprising, as internationally active CEOs!

At the Crib Service on Christmas Eve, there was a telling of the Adam and Eve story for the children. Mankind was disobedient, was thrown out of the beautiful garden, and then had to work in a harsh world. What we didn’t tell the children, at the time, was that – even in the beautiful garden – people were meant to be working! Adam and Eve were put in the garden to tend it and work it, not to relax all the time! 

The point being that we have skills and abilities, time and energy, and will not exactly be humans reflecting the image of God if we don’t use those things constructively. We surely owe that to God, we owe it to ourselves to create, and to enjoy achieving something, and owe it to others whom we can benefit by doing something useful. 

All this has no firm connection with whether work is paid or not. A lot of useful work is voluntary, often including childcare and housework. And anything we might do as a hobby, like golf, might well be a paid career for someone else. A scientist might see ‘work’ as something we use our energy on, quite regardless of whether it’s paid. I remember, long ago, talking to a trade union leader who seemed to see work as a necessary evil, but I and the Bible saw it as part of being human. Complete retirement from worthwhile activity isn’t something to aspire to, and it is sad if disability tends to force it on us. But come what may, we can probably manage to pray for, and encourage others, which is a useful job of work.


Fr Roger







 
Sunday, 9 January 2022
This morning our 10 am service was a parish eucharist, and we were very happy to welcome Archdeacon Luke as the celebrant. Today we were reading and thinking about the baptism of Our Lord in the river Jordan by St John the Baptist. In his sermon Father Luke reflected on the fact that we are all joined by baptism into God's grace. 

We were without Joanna this week, and were very happy to welcome Sylvia to play the piano for us for this service. The Choir returned to its 'Covid' position in the South Transept near to the piano, and sang the hymns and the Ave Verum in the setting by W.A.Mozart as the anthem. 

There was coffee after the service.

Next week we will have a said matins with hymns. 





 Acts 8:14-17

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

When the apostles at Jerusalem heard 
that Samaria had accepted the word of God, 
they sent Peter and John to them. 

The two went down and prayed for them 
that they might receive the Holy Spirit 

(for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; 
they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). 

Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, 
and they received the Holy Spirit.


Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

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

In the wilderness John proclaimed a baptism of repentance.

As the people were filled with expectation, 
and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, 
whether he might be the Messiah,

John answered all of them by saying, 
“I baptize you with water; 
but one who is more powerful than I is coming; 
I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. 
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 

His winnowing fork is in his hand, 
to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; 
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Now when all the people were baptized, 
and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
the heaven was opened, 

and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven, 
“You are my Son, the Beloved;
with you I am well pleased.”
Thursday, 6 January 2022

 This afternoon the Sunday School held their Christmas Party, with activities in the Parish Hall and importantly tea in the Parish rooms. Here are some photos and a big thank you to every one who helped to organise this lovely event!

 






Sunday, 2 January 2022
This morning our 10 am service was a Family Communion, and we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany. As Father Roger pointed out in his sermon, this marks the arrival of the Three Wise Men, as recorded in Matthew's Gospel. Using some very clever visual aids he demonstrated the amazing story of God putting his glory aside and becoming human like us and subject to all the problems that humans must bear. 
We sang 'We Three Kings' as the offertory hymn, and the three wise men paraded to the crib with their gifts, thanks to the Sunday School!

There was no anthem as the Choir is in recess until next week. There was coffee after the service.
This coming week we go back to 'normal' with choir practice and Sunday School at their usual times.

Next week we will have the Archdeacon with us at 10 am.




The wise men arrived at the crib, they parked their Camels outside!






The Star precedes the Wise ones with their gifts to the Crib


 



Isaiah 60:1-6

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.

Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.

Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.
They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.


Matthew 2:1-12

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

In the time of King Herod, 
after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, 
wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, 

“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? 
For we observed his star at its rising,
and have come to pay him homage.” 

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, 
and all Jerusalem with him; 

and calling together 
all the chief priests and scribes of the people, 
he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 

They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; 
for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men
and learned from them the exact time 
when the star had appeared. 

Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, 
“Go and search diligently for the child; 
and when you have found him, 
bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 

When they had heard the king, they set out; 
and there, ahead of them, 
went the star that they had seen at its rising,
until it stopped over the place where the child was. 

When they saw that the star had stopped,
they were overwhelmed with joy. 

On entering the house, 
they saw the child with Mary his mother; 
and they knelt down and paid him homage. 
Then, opening their treasure chests, 
they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, 
they left for their own country by another road.


Address

Jesus came as a baby at Christmas. The Epiphany season is about everyone seeing what Jesus is really all about.

Today we have the Wise Men, following a star to find baby Jesus. It doesn’t say there were three Wise Men, it doesn’t say they were actually kings, but it says that they were from the East. That means that they were not Jewish, not from God’s people, they were outsiders. So we learn that Jesus has come for everyone! They were a group of Wise Men, bringing three gifts.

If the Wise Men saw the star and then undertook a long difficult journey, baby Jesus would have grown up a bit before they arrived. In fact, we read that Mary and Joseph had moved out of the stable and into a house by the time they arrived. The Wise Men, it has been thought, were scholars from the ancient Zoroastrian religion of Persia. Astronomers or astrologers, studying the stars, but they were people trying hard to get to the truth, and that’s normally a very good thing.

These days we have Professor Brian Cox studying the heavens. He points out that the stars have made us what we are, and our star, the sun, keeps us alive. At one level that is doubtless very true. But he has said that we don’t need to invent any other gods apart from the stars, and we would certainly argue with that. A star will not inspire us to love and morality, good behaviour, and hope for the individual, or anything non-technical. Allan Jenkins, who used to be the priest-in-charge here, and I, both studied Physics at a certain college in London, and our professors and teachers contained a surprisingly large sprinkling of Godly people.

You may remember that before Archdeacon Luke came, we had a temporary Acting Archdeacon. He was called David Twinley, and he gave us an address on the Greek concept of kenosis. I’m sure you recall it - vividly? That idea is in St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, chapter 2. It is about God wanting to come among us on earth in Jesus’ life, and so the second person of the Trinity, (who is the Word of God) had to ‘empty himself’, and ‘lay aside his heavenly glory’, to do the job. The Father is the first person of the Trinity, and the Holy Spirit the third. The second person, the Word of God, would ‘empty himself and lay aside his heavenly glory’ to be alongside us in Jesus.

Before this gets boring, we’ve found a use for the star. It can be a sort of picture.

Long ago, God could sometimes seem to be a bit like our star, the sun. God there, but far away, having made us, loving us, but a long way away. Giving us life…. but a long way away.

To get close, God must lay aside his glory and empty himself. How do we show that? Well, we can chop off the spiky bits of the star, and we get….. Doesn’t that look nice? What do you mean, ‘No?’

We’ll have to try again, chop more off, so that the star can really come down among us. There’re still some little bumps on it. We’ll chop them off! You can’t see very well so I’ve coloured in where we’ve chopped them, to make it clear.

I think that some of you children are the sort to give a good kicking to a truncated icosahedron. Does anyone want to confess?

Well we’ll chop the bumps off. Can anyone guess what we will get? A football. That is really down-to-earth. In fact, it hits on the ground rather a lot, it has a rough time, it gets kicked around.

That can remind us that God coming down to earth was costly. Jesus would get hurt and killed when he came to help us.

Even while Jesus was still a baby, Mary and Joseph had to become refugees in Egypt to save him from nasty King Herod. But it would all end well, and if it hadn’t, we wouldn’t be in church today, and there wouldn’t be a Church!



(We went from stellated icosahedron to icosahedron to truncated icosahedron.)

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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