Sunday, September 06, 2020

Sunday worship links and other news


 Morning Worship     Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)
Evensong                     Evensong service sheet

In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion
2.30pm            Baptism
4pm                 Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm            Evensong
Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Seal Recreation Ground in groups of six, socially distanced.
Sunday Sept 13
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm            Evensong

On Zoom this week  - email for links
Zoffee – Zoom chat at 11.15 am every Sunday
There won't be any Wednesday morning prayer or Wednesday Zoom service this week, because the vicar is taking time off from Monday 7 - Saturday 12. Zoom children's and adult choirs are also cancelled this week.

Trinity 13
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus talks to his disciples about how they should resolve conflict within their community and restore broken relationships. None of us can live completely solitary lives, even if we wanted to, and that means that along with the joys of living in community there will also be challenges. It is a theme to which Jesus returns again and again in the Gospels. His commandment to his followers was that they should “love one another” (John 13.34). This would – or at least should – be the way in which people would recognise them as his followers. The aspiration is one thing, the reality quite another, however, and we often fall short and need reconciliation – with ourselves, with one another and with God. Today’s collect, the special prayer for the day in our morning and evening worship, which “collects” its themes together, talks about God “in Christ reconciling the world” to himself. Nowhere is that idea more beautifully expressed than in the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), in which the younger son takes his inheritance and blows the lot on wild parties, but eventually comes back to his father to ask forgiveness. His father gives it freely and joyfully, but the boy’s older brother is furious, refusing to accept that such a thing could happen.
The moment when the younger son returns has been painted over and over again, most famously by Rembrandt, but here is a modern take on the story, by Ghislaine Howard. I like the detail of the son’s arms hanging by his side, unable to do anything other than accept the hug his father gives him, something he has not dared hope for.
Ghislaine said of her picture, “The idea of painting the Return of the Prodigal Son was an enormous challenge – how to recreate a subject already given such magisterial form by Rembrandt and the great Russian film director, Andrei Tarkovsky. It is a subject that is perhaps at the very centre of everything I do; it goes straight to the heart of what it is to be human – our weaknesses and our strengths. It embodies the silence of the moment of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption – in a word, compassion.”

All Age resources

Come along and join us at our Outdoor Church at 4pm on Sunday in the churchyard for a story and prayers for all ages. No facemasks required! What story will we hear this week…?
  • In this Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus tells his friends that when they fall out, they should talk to each other to make things right, not just gossip with their friends or gang up on each other. Think about your friends, and those who you aren't so friendly with. Write their names on strips of paper and make a paper chain out of them, praying for each person as you do.  
Prayer of the week
A prayer of penitence by Bishop Thomas Wilson 1663-1755
Forgive us our sins, O Lord;
the sins of our present and the sins of our past,
the sins of our souls and the sins of our bodies,
the sins which we have done to please ourselves and the sins which we have done to please others,
forgive us our casual sins and our deliberate sins,
and those which we have laboured so to hide that we have hidden them even from ourselves.
forgive us, O Lord, forgive us all our sins,
for the sake of the Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Most of us find it hard to say sorry or to acknowledge when we have got things wrong or hurt others, but it is only when we do that we can find healing, both within ourselves and between ourselves and others. That’s why almost every service in church begins with an act of confession. It’s not because we think we should go about grovelling all the time, but because we need to be constantly reminded that we can be forgiven and loved, and that nothing we can do can destroy God’s love for us.
This prayer, by Bishop Thomas Wilson, 1663 -1755, is a perceptive one, which recognises the many ways we can get it wrong, and the many reasons why we may do so. Wilson was Bishop of Sodor and Man, a tiny and very impoverished Diocese in his time. He was Bishop there from 1697 to his death, 58 years later. He was offered what was seen as the much richer and more prestigious Diocese of Exeter, but declined it, feeling that his call was particularly to the Isle of Man. He was much loved, and it is said that almost the entire adult population of Man came to his funeral.
1 Ye holy angels bright,
who wait at God's right hand,
or through the realms of light
fly at your Lord's command,
assist our song,
for else the theme
too high doth seem
for mortal tongue.
2 Ye bless├Ęd souls at rest,
who ran this earthly race,
and now, from sin released,
behold the Saviour's face,
his praises sound,
as in his sight
with sweet delight
ye do abound.
3 Ye saints, who toil below,
adore your heavenly King,
and onward as ye go
some joyful anthem sing;
take what he gives
and praise him still,
through good and ill,
who ever lives.
4 My soul, bear thou thy part,
triumph in God above,
and with a well-tuned heart
sing thou the songs of love;
let all thy days
till life shall end,
whate'er he send,
be filled with praise.

This  joyful hymn  was written by Richard Baxter,  a  Puritan clergyman and writer who lived through the  English Civil war. It is commonly sung to Darwall’s 148th, originally written for a version of the 148th Psalm by John Darwall, (1731-1789) who was known for advocating that Psalms be sung “in quicker time than common”, which certainly suits this tune, which leaps about as joyfully as Baxter’s words. Baxter was chaplain to Cromwell’s army, but later argued for the restoration of the Monarchy. He was broadly Calvinist in his outlook, but had some differences of opinion with other Calvinists of the time as well as with the  Church of England, not fitting easily into any particular  “camp”. His most famous work is “The Saints’ Everlasting Rest”, in which he ponders heaven, and what it will be like. This hymn clearly draws on the same thoughts. The hymn was written in the same year as his much-loved wife, Margaret, died, and speaks of the unity of heaven and earth, in a way which was probably very comforting. I particularly love the last verse, with its invitation to sing “the songs of love” with a “well-tuned heart”.
  • What do you think a “well-tuned heart “is like?
  • How “well-tuned” does yours feel like at the moment?
Many thanks to all who made scarecrows, and to Barbara Martin and Janetta Critcher who organised our scarecrow trail. Here are some of the offerings.
During the summer, the Church is fund raising to help plug the financial gaps caused by this pandemic. We are looking for people to host small (maximum 6 people) garden tea/lunch/supper parties, with donations being made to the church. If you feel you could host such an event, please contact Rosemary on 01959 524914 or Chris on 01732 763585.You could also contact us by emailing A pack containing invitations, guidelines and a risk assessment is ready for your use. There have been several Gatherings so far – many thanks to those who have hosted them – and they seemed to go smoothly and safely, so do join in.
How are things at Seal Church?
Someone asked me last week to include some news of what is happening behind the scenes at church. Although many groups and activities are paused, that doesn’t mean that our hard-working churchwardens and PCC aren’t being kept busy. The PCC has met a couple of times on Zoom during lockdown and will next meet on Sept 17. In particular, we are trying as hard as we can to make some progress on the installation of the tea station at the back of church, even though we can’t actually serve teas and coffees at the moment! We have the approval of the Diocesan Advisory Committee, and are now going through the formal process of applying for a faculty to do the work associated with this. The timescale is quite tight, because a large part of the funding for this is coming from a grant, which we have to start spending in October or we will lose it…Please pray as hard as you can that we can meet the deadline for starting this! Progress has been frustratingly slow on this, because of various technical issues, as well as coronavirus, which is why time is so tight!
Plans are also underway to do a small repair to the stained glass window in the Lady chapel. A pane of glass was broken in this somehow just before we reopened for worship which needs specialised work to repair.
The PCC (and I) have also been busy considering the raft of coronavirus regulations and guidance which we have to consider in regard to almost every aspect of the church’s life at the moment, trying to get the balance right between resuming activities and keeping people safe, especially those who are particularly vulnerable. I really appreciate the support and good will with which people have accepted the limitations there are in our common life at the moment, which makes the task much easier than it might have been.
And finally...
I am sure Dave Walker must creep into Seal Church while I’m not looking to get ideas for his Church Times cartoons. We haven’t got quite as many signs as this around the church, but it’s not far off…

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