Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Worship links and other news


Dear friends

The links to our worship this week, and other news and resources for reflection are below.
Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

September 27

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
4pm                 Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm            Evensong

Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Zoom and in person- ask for details
Sunday Oct 4 Harvest
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
Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wednesday 5pm & Thursday 5pm  Note new time for the Thursday group
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.

Trinity 16
 Today’s Gospel passage (Matthew 21. 23-32) is set during the last week of Jesus’ life.  He has ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey, in a conscious echo of the Old Testament prophecy looking forward to the coming of the Messiah in Zechariah 9.9, “Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey.” He makes his way to the Temple, driving out the money changers and those who sold animals for sacrifice there. He is causing a huge stir, which the authorities worry is the precursor to an uprising against Rome, which will bring a backlash on them on. The Temple authorities come to him, wanting to know what authority he has to do this. Who does he think he is? 

I explore Jesus’ answer in the sermon today. 

The picture above, by James Tissot (1836-1902) is actually of Jesus being confronted by a group of Pharisees, who weren’t part of the official Temple authority structure, but the dynamics of the encounter would have been similar. They are offended that this carpenter, without any standing in the religious hierarchy, is taking it on himself to teach and preach. For those gathered around him, though, the words he speaks make sense and bring life. 

Tissot was a prolific painter of Biblical scenes in his later life, following what seems to have been a profound spiritual experience. He was the son of a draper’s merchant from Nantes in France, and for the first part of his career mainly painted scenes from the everyday life around him and portraits of society figures. He was particularly known for the precision with which he painted the elaborate 19th century clothing his subjects wore – possibly being the child of a draper meant he had an eye for these details! He carried the same precision into his Biblical studies, however, and tried to make them as authentic as he could. He travelled to the Holy Land, and took great interest in the archeological digs which were taking place at the time, setting his pictures in the landscapes he saw around him. They are marked by a profound sense of empathy for those in them, capturing the significant moments in the life of Jesus and the reactions of those around him, both positive and negative.  

In this episode, and in the picture above, the central question is who this man, Jesus, really is?

•    How would you answer that question? What does Jesus mean to you?

You can find some more of Tissot’s pictures, and information about him, at the links below:

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…?
HYMN OF THE WEEK  - Glorious things of Thee are spoken
This hymn, which is sung in today’s podcasts by the choir of St Martin in the Fields, was written by John Newton (1725-1807), who also wrote Amazing Grace, for a collection of hymns which he put together in his parish of Olney, working alongside William Cowper (whose hymn, Sometimes a Light Surprises, was featured in this newsletter on Aug 16).
Newton was Rector of Olney at this point, but his life had been a roller-coaster of experiences, and he was probably as astonished as everyone else to find himself living the life of a Christian minister. His mother had been very devout, but she had died when he was just seven, and by the age of eleven, he had joined his father at sea, and was eventually pressed into the Royal navy; when he tried to desert he was flogged. He joined a slave ship, but was apparently so unpopular with the crew that he was abandoned in Sierra Leone in the company of a slave trader, who sold him to a high born woman of the Sherbro tribe in Sierra Leone who treated him as a slave. When he managed to free himself, however, despite this experience, he went back into the slave trade himself, captaining a slave ship. Eventually, however, he had a religious conversion, partly prompted by a desperate prayer when his ship was threatened with disaster in a storm, and eventually gave up his former life, gradually shedding his old beliefs and becoming an ardent abolitionist, supporting William Wilberforce in his struggle against slavery. There is another link to a figure featured previously in this newsletter, since one of the books which Newton said had been most formative in shaping his spiritual life was The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, whom I wrote about last week.
Glorious things of thee are spoken, is inspired by words from Psalm 87, a psalm of rejoicing in the city of Jerusalem. “On the holy mount stands the city he has founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God” . Newton isn’t thinking of the literal city of Jerusalem, however, but the heavenly Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God, which we are all invited to be citizens of, both now and in the world to come, living according to its rules and patterns, learning to love one another in an new, equal community. Perhaps the words of the last verse of the  hymn reflect Newton’s own struggles as his life changed, and he had to give up the financial rewards of the life of a slaver. His conclusion though is that “let the world deride or pity,/I will glory in thy name;/fading is the worldling's pleasure,/all his boasted pomp and show;/solid joys and lasting treasure/none but Zion's children know.”
The tune traditionally associated with this hymn is called Austriaoriginally composed by Joseph Haydn for a patriotic anthem to the Austrian emperor Francis II, but it was re-purposed as a hymn tune set to many different words. Later it was used as the tune for the German National Anthem, and because of the painful associations of the anthem during the Nazi era, it understandably  rapidly fell out of favour in Great Britain. The BBC, wanting to continue to use Newton’s hymn in broadcasts during WW2, needed a new tune to use for it, so one of the producers of Religious Broadcasting, Reverend Cyril Vincent Taylor wrote a new tune in 1942 while he was stationed in North Somerset. His tune is called Abbots Leigh, after the village where he was living, and is now commonly sung to these words (and to other hymns in the same metre). It’s a tune with great sweeps in its melody – a joy to sing, but perhaps sometimes a challenge too!
In the version below it is sung at the wedding of the Queen’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank in 2018 in St George's Chapel, Windsor.
1 Glorious things of thee are spoken,

Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
thou may'st smile at all thy foes.
2 See the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove;
who can faint while such a river
ever flows their thirst t'assuage?
Grace, which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.

3 Round each habitation hov'ring,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a cov'ring,
showing that the Lord is near;
thus deriving from their banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe they feed upon the manna
which he gives them when they pray.
4 Saviour, if of Zion's city
I, thro' grace, a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy name;
fading is the worldling's pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion's children know.

Prayer of the week
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a little story of two sons, asked by their father to work in his vineyard. The first says he won’t, but eventually does, the second says he will, but doesn’t. Which is the better son?, asks Jesus. The first, say the religious authorities who have come to challenge him. Jesus, and many of his followers, may not look like the kind of people God would call into his kingdom, but they are doing the kingdom’s work, obeying God’s call, unlike many who bore the title of leader, and had high standing in the religious establishment, but weren’t living lives of love and service.

This prayer was written by Thomas Becon, 1511-1567, a clergyman and Protestant reformer from Norfolk whose fortunes waxed and waned through the turbulence of the English Reformation. He was alternately persecuted and promoted during the reigns of Henry VIII, Mary, and Edward, depending on how his Protestant opinions were viewed at the time. He was a trusted adviser to Edward VI, but then imprisoned in the Tower of London in the time of Queen Mary. His prayer asks for help not only to hear God’s word, but also to do it – to be like the first son in Jesus story, in other words, who is obedient, even if he didn’t really want to be!
  • Have you ever had to do something you really didn’t want to, but which you knew was right?
O Lord, we most humbly beseech thee to give us grace  not only to be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the same; not only to love, but also to live thy gospel; not only to profess, but also to practise thy blessed commandments, unto the honour of thy holy name. Amen
Next week, the first Sunday in October, is the date when we traditionally celebrate Harvest. This year we can’t have a Harvest Supper, but we will still be focussing on the goodness of God’s creation in our worship next Sunday, and the generosity he calls us to. We usually support the Diocesan Poverty and Hope appeal at Harvest, which helps to fund work both overseas and in this country. 
You can find out more about the projects it supports here
As we have been told to discourage cash donations generally in church to control the spread of Covid 19, if you want to give to this appeal, please do so online if you can. The link for more information about how to do this is here.
While the “rule of six” doesn’t apply to gatherings for worship, it does still apply before and after worship, so please do not linger inside or outside the church before and after services to chat, as it is difficult to make sure that people don’t interact with more than five others when we are doing this. The principle of the ruling is that we should minimise as far as possible our social interactions to prevent the spread of the virus, so we need to comply not only with the letter but also the spirit of the law, and help others to do so. It’s difficult in what is normally a friendly, chatty church, but we all need to play our part.
APCM and Electoral Roll
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place on Sunday October 18th at 11.15 am. The meeting will have to be by Zoom, since we will not be able to accommodate all who may want to come, and the APCM is supposed to be open to any on the Electoral Roll. It is possible to phone into Zoom meetings, so this is a legal alternative to meeting face to face. More details to follow.
If you are not on the Church Electoral Roll and would like to be, you can download 
an application form here . The privacy notice is here. You can return the completed forms to me at “The vicarage, Church Street, Seal, TN15 0AR. The deadline for applications is Friday October 2
We will also be electing 4 members of the PCC and 2 members of the Deanery Synod at this meeting. If you would like to consider coming onto the PCC please let me know.

And finally...  
"The mystery of why an entire village lost its broadband every morning at 7am was solved when engineers discovered an old television was to blame.

An unnamed householder in Aberhosan, Powys, was unaware the old set would emit a signal which would interfere with the entire village's broadband.

After 18 months engineers began an investigation after a cable replacement programme failed to fix the issue.

The embarrassed householder promised not to use the television again.

The village now has a stable broadband signal.

Openreach engineers were baffled by the continuous problem and it wasn't until they used a monitoring device that they found the fault.

The householder would switch their TV set on at 7am every morning - and electrical interference emitted by their second-hand television was affecting the broadband signal.

The owner, who does not want to be identified, was "mortified" to find out their old TV was causing the problem, according to Openreach.

"They immediately agreed to switch it off and not use it again," said engineer Michael Jones.

Engineers walked around the village with a monitor called a spectrum analyser to try to find any "electrical noise" to help pinpoint the problem.

"At 7am, like clockwork, it happened," said Mr Jones.

"Our device picked up a large burst of electrical interference in the village.

"It turned out that at 7am every morning the occupant would switch on their old TV which would, in turn, knock out broadband for the entire village."

The TV was found to be emitting a single high-level impulse noise (SHINE), which causes electrical interference in other devices.

Mr Jones said the problem has not returned since the fault was identified.

Suzanne Rutherford, Openreach chief engineer's lead for Wales, said anything with electric components - from outdoor lights to microwaves - can potentially have an impact on broadband connections.

"We'd just advise the public to make sure that their electric appliances are properly certified and meet current British standards," she said.

"And if you have a fault, report it to your service provider in the first instance so that we can investigate."

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