30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #101 27th March 2022
From the Minister Mother Church, Mother God?
This Sunday is Mothering Sunday, more popularly known as Mother’s Day. The date changes each year because it falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which hints at a religious origin to the day. It may have started with it being a Sunday where people travelled back to the parish in which they had been born – to their ‘Mother Church’. Nowadays that would be a big journey for many people, always supposing they felt a connection to their ‘parish’ or ‘mother church’. In modern times (with much commercial encouragement) the emphasis is much more upon the role of mothers in our society. That is a universal concern. After all, all of us have a mother, through whom we come to have a life. Many of our mothers have done great things for us, and we want to say thank you. Some have mothers who could have done better for their child, and we don’t want to ignore that either. So, this Sunday, you might want to think about and remember your mother, and respond appropriately. You might want to give a thought to your ‘mother church’, if you believe you have one. And given that through God we all come to have a life, we might want to acknowledge God as being our ‘Mother’ as well as our ‘Father.’
Loving God, you father and mother me all my days. Even before I acknowledged you, you loved me; and you laboured to bring everyone birth, new birth. Loving, mothering God, strong and tender, tried and true, I worship you today. Amen. (Inspired by a prayer written by John Harvey)
The Clocks Go Forward This Weekend You Wouldn’t Want to be Late for Church!
Sunday 27th March at 10.30 a.m. Service led by Trevor Jamison – a service that marks Mothering Sunday, featuring a Bible reading about a father and two sons!
Sunday 27th March at 6.30 p.m. The first of our evening services at the church on the last Sunday of each month, up to and including September. A reflective service on the theme of “Peace and Reconciliation”, led by Trevor Jamison. This will be a communion service.
Sunday 3rd April 10.30 a.m. service at church, led by Trevor Jamison. 6.30 p.m. ZOOM communion service, led by Trevor Jamison.
Bible readings for this week (Fourth Sunday in Lent)
Joshua 5:9-12 The first meal in a new place
Psalm 32 The joy of forgiveness
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 Reconciliation with God changes everything
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 The parable of the forgiving father
The reading from Luke 15 is popularly known as the parable of the prodigal son. You could argue, though, that it’s as much a parable about a forgiving father, or one about an unforgiving brother. When the focus is on one or other of the brothers then we recognise ourselves. At different times we’re selfish (“I want my share now”), capable of repentance (“I have sinned against heaven and before you”), dutiful (“for all these years I’ve been working like a slave for you”), and grumpy and begrudging (“you’ve never done that for me”). When the focus is on the father in the parable, though, we’re invited to recognise something about God – God yearns for us, welcomes us, embraces us, and is joyful in our company. Jesus’s parable is a ‘true’ story because it tells the truth about human nature, and that it’s also truly good news about God.
A hymn that responds to the readings
“Unfailing love from heaven’s throne that sought me out and brought me home …” Love of God, Revealed in Wonder by Stuart Townend, here with orchestra, choir, and a packed Albert Hall in London.
We are coming to the time of electing the next Elders to serve St Columba’s URC. If you would like to share this work or know of someone who might, please have a word with Alison before the end of March.
You can find the helpful URC booklet, “They’ve asked me to become an elder” here.
Lent events at St Columba’s
Three Pictures for Lent Thursday 31 March at 7.15 p.m. on Zoom
2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m., Friday 1 and 8 April – at St Columba’s
Creating a shared artwork, where your gender, age, previous experience (or lack of artistic talent!) is no bar to taking part. Each session will end with a short act of worship, followed by a cuppa and a hot cross bun.
Prayer Walk on the Beach
Saturday 9 April at 2.00 p.m.
A guided stroll with pauses for listening and for praying, both with and without words.