30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #102 3rd April 2022
From the Minister We Need to be More Two-Faced
The Roman god, Janus, from which we get the name for the first month of the year, was a two-faced god. At the beginning of each year he would simultaneously look back to the old with one face and forward to the new with the other. Yes, in this one sense at least, an ancient pagan god makes a good role model for Christians! Some of us tend to dwell on the past, especially if the here and now is not going the way we would like. Others have little time for what’s been and gone, not wanting history to distract us from making future prospects into a reality. I suspect that the majority of us church folk incline more to the former than the latter, but then ours is a historical faith. It originates in events that happened back then and there’s a rich history (tradition) of Christian life and witness across the centuries. We can (and should) look back to the past, but we can’t live there. Likewise, we can (and should) look forward to the future, but we can’t live there either – that’s fantasy land. Instead, like Janus, we live in the here and now, looking both ways; to the past for knowledge about who we are and the inspiration of good examples; and also to the future, with hope for possibilities and who we might become.
God of my past, my present, and my future, thank you for all that’s good in what has been; give me hope for what might come; enable to live well in the here and now. Amen.
WORSHIP SERVICES AT ST COLUMBA’S
Sunday 3rd April10.30 a.m. Service at Church Led by Trevor Jamison, on the theme of valuing our past and looking to God’s future.
This service will include an interview with Kath Smith from the local volunteer group, ‘Remembering the Past’ about capturing memories of Good Friday walks of witness that have taken place in North Shields over past years.
6.30 p.m. ZOOM Communion Service Led by Trevor Jamison. Mary anoints Jesus in anticipation of what’s to come.
Sunday 10th April Palm Sunday / Passion Sunday 10.30 a.m. Communion service at church
Led by Roberta Ritson and Trevor Jamison.
Bible readings for this week (Fifth Sunday in Lent)
Isaiah 43:16-21 God is doing new things
Psalm 126 God restores Israel’s fortunes
Philippians 3:4b-14 What’s tradition in comparison to knowing Christ?
John 12:1-8 Mary anoints Jesus in anticipation of his death
Reflection on the Readings The Problem With Perfume and Cathedrals
All four Gospels provide us with an account of Jesus being anointed (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12). All four feature a meal in a house, a woman, and expensive perfume. After that, things get complicated if you try to fit every detail of all four together. Here, in John’s Gospel, the woman is identified as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus (12:2-3). Also, we’re told that Judas objected to the use of the perfume on cost grounds – it could have financed aid to help the poor instead (12:5). Then we get Jesus’s well-known response: ‘You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’ (12:8) Whenever I admire a great cathedral, like Durham, I have two thoughts. First, ‘what a wonderful expression of faith’; second, ‘think of how they could have helped the poor with the money they spent to build (and maintain) all of this. Jesus’s saying does not provide me with a simple answer to that dilemma. Beautiful and costly expressions of faith are allowed, it seems, but the poor (and my responsibilities towards them) do not go away.
Please note the change of Zoom link for this meeting
Thoughtful Art for Lent
2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m., Friday 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.