Sunday, January 17, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news


Dear friends

The links to our audio podcasts, Zoom sessions etc are below, as usual. If you, or someone you know is in need of any kind, please let us know and we will do our best to help.  
Stay at home and stay safe!

Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

Jan 17 Second Sunday after Epiphany

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

In Church
No services in church until further notice.

On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee Sunday chat on Zoom.  Jan 17, 2021 11:15 AM 

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wed 5-5.30pm  Fun singing with Anne Le Bas
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.

Epiphany 2

Samuel and Nathanael 

Samuel tells Eli God's message. Painting by John Singleton Copley 1759-1813Today’s readings  introduce us to  two people who  heard God’s call to them – eventually!  Samuel was just a small boy,  entrusted to the keeping of Eli , an old priest who looked after the shrine at Shiloh, where the Ark of the Covenant, the box in which the Ten Commandments, was kept . His mother had been desperate for a child, having been unable to have one,  and  came to pray at the shrine. (1 Samuel 1) When her prayers were answered, she brought her child to the shrine to live there.  Priesthood was hereditary, so Eli’s sons should have been the ones to succeed him in his spiritual leadership of the people, but they had proved to be corrupt, stealing the offerings people brought to the shrine for themselves. Eli was in failing health, and the story tells us that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread”. It seemed as if the faith which had sustained Israel was in terminal decline . But God had other ideas, and in the middle of the night, called to Samuel and gives him a message for Eli. Although it is a tough message for Eli to hear, it does carry with it the  promise that God  has not finished with Israel. Samuel goes  on to become one of the most important   prophets and leaders in Israel’s history. 

Nathanael, in the Gospel of John, is similarly caught off guard.  He can’t believe that anyone from Nazareth could be the Messiah – it would have seemed much more likely that it would be someone from a significant family,  one of the Temple elite, perhaps, not a carpenter from a backwater town in Galilee. But meeting Jesus changes his mind completely and Nathanael becomes a follower of Christ. Nathanael isn’t mentioned in the other Gospels, but is often  identified with Bartholomew . Tradition says that Bartholomew/Nathanael went on to take the Gospel eastwards, reaching India. Some traditions say that he was martyred in Armenia, by being flayed alive (rather gruesomely, many depictions of him show him holding his own skin…), but other stories say that he died in India. Armenians claims him, along with St Thaddeus, as their Patron Saints, however. 

All Age Ideas

If you are feeling bored, here are some ideas for things to do at home or out taking some daily exercise.

In this video we hear the story of Jesus' meeting with Nathanael.  
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. 

The PCC met last Thursday evening by Zoom. We noted our thanks to Jenny Elliott, who has stepped down as Chuchwarden and from the PCC, for her service in these roles.
As always we discussed safeguarding – it is a standing item on the agenda because it is so vital – and the importance of appropriate training, depending on what people are doing within the church community. Everyone in the church community is invited and encouraged to do the basic awareness level of training, which is done online, so that we all know what danger signs to look out for and what we should do if we are worried that something is amiss. Some people also need to go on to do the “Foundations” or “Leadership” courses, if they are working with children or vulnerable adults. Find out more here.
Building and repair projects are progressing steadily. The Tea Station should be installed within the next month, and the boundary wall is due to be repaired once the winter is over (it can’t be done while there is still a danger of hard frosts). A major item of expenditure this year will be the installation of a replacement oil-fired boiler, as our current one is on its last legs, and we have been warned that it won’t go through another winter. We have researched and discussed alternatives, like a new electric heating system, and various green alternatives, but at the moment a new heating system (at least £40,000, plus a lot of disruption) is beyond our resources, so the only realistic option is to replace our current boiler with a new one. It will be much more efficient, probably saving up to 30% in heating costs, but it will cost between £10,000 and 15,000, so it will be a major expense this year. We are looking for ways of fund-raising and seeking grants, but some of the cost may have to come from our reserves.
We also reviewed Advent and Christmas. Despite the inevitable restrictions and disruption caused by coronavirus, people felt that the opportunities for worship and reflection (and even some singing outside!) had been good and had been appreciated. If you have any feedback on Advent and Christmas and how it felt for you, please feel free to get in touch. Although we hope never to have to go through another festive season like 2020’s, there may be things we could learn which would be valuable for future years.
Lent is just around the corner! It hardly seems possible, but it is only just over a month away. Ash Wednesday is on Feb 17. It is a bit challenging to work out how we might mark this if we are still in lockdown, but I have a Cunning Plan, so watch this space!
Jesus teaching a crowd: Lent Course imageThis year we can’t meet for our usual Lent discussion sessions in person, of course, but I will be leading two Lent Groups via Zoom, on Monday mornings at 11 am and Monday evenings at 7.30pm, starting on Monday Feb 22. I will also be producing material that you can use at home or with friends or family if you don’t want to Zoom.
I thought it might be good to do a bit of spiritual “stocktaking”, to reflect on where we are with God after such a tumultuous and challenging year, so I am going to be doing four sessions focussed on questions Jesus asked people who came to him. “What are you looking for?” (John 1.38) “ Do you know what I have done to you?” (John 13.12) “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” (John 6.5) and “ Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16.8). The course will be called “What do you think?” which is another of the questions Jesus asks. It will follow a similar format to the “Meeting Jesus” sessions some of us joined in a few months ago, with opportunities to reflect on a Bible passage with our heads, hearts and hands. I will let you know more in a couple of weeks, but I thought you might like some advance notice of what is planned.

I the Lord of Sea and Sky (Here I am, Lord)
This is one of the most popular modern hymns. Its composer, Dan Schutte, was a member of the St Louis Jesuits, a group of composers who were at the time they got together all members of the Roman Catholic Jesuit order who were at the time academics based at St Louis University. They wrote many songs, especially in the 1970s and 80s, in a popular idiom, which have become staples, especially in Catholic churches. Dan Schutte left the order in 1986, but remains close to the Jesuits and very active in church music.  He is currently Composer-in-Residence at the University of San Francisco. He also writes on spirituality and liturgy.
Here I am Lord is probably his best known hymn, especially outside Catholic circles. It is often sung at confirmations and ordinations, with its emphasis on God’s calling, but in a survey I conducted a few years ago at Seal it came high on peoples’ list, so we sing it fairly regularly. It is a belter of a hymn, with a rousing chorus which can’t fail to inspire! The hymn is based mainly on God’s call to the prophet Isaiah, (Isaiah 6.8) in which Isaiah has a vision of God’s glory and hears God call “Whom shall I send?” Despite feeling unworthy, Isaiah responds “Here am I: Send me!” but it also invokes the imagery of the calling of Samuel “I have heard you calling in the night”.
I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my word to them.
Whom shall I send?
I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?
©Copyright Daniel L Schutte 1981 and New Dawn Music
Prayer of the week
Picture of sunrise with prayer. As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and forever. AmenThis little prayer comes from the beginning of Morning Prayer in the Church of England’s Common Worship order of service. It has a wealth of meaning packed into four short lines. It proclaims each day, every day, to be a gift, and something to rejoice in. It encourages us to trust that God will be present in it, and it doesn’t just invite us to see God’s light, but also to be set ablaze by it, so that light shines out to others.
It’s a great prayer for the days we look forward to, but it’s an even better prayer for the days we don’t, the grey January days which seem to have nothing in them but the “same old, same old”, or the days which bring anxiety or pain. These days too, are days in which God is at work, and reminding ourselves of that can make all the difference to the way we approach them.
In case you haven’t found them, here are some links to resources which can help us to live out our faith, in prayer and action, every day.
Prayer apps – you can also find these by searching for “Daily Prayer” and “Time to Pray” on your smartphone’s App store.
Daily prayer: The daily prayer of the Church of England. (this now includes an audio recording of short services of prayer during the day and at night, with music.)
More C of E apps can be found here
Faith in daily life
Inspiration for ways of living out our faith in daily life.
Exploring your calling at an “It’s your calling” day with Rochester Diocese. The next one is online on Feb 6. This is for anyone wanting to think about what they are called to do, in the church or out of it, in authorised ministry or in some other sphere.
And Finally...
Bearing in mind our PCC discussions about the need to replace the boiler, perhaps Ron, in his Church Time “St Gargoyles” cartoon this week has an idea for alternative fuel…

A couple of tweaks, and the church boiler was good to run on facemasks.

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