30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW Weekly Update #180 26th November 2023
From the Minister Is This the Last Sunday of the Year?
Yes, ok, actually, literally the last Sunday year is the last one in December. This year, that coincides with last day of the year: December 31st. In worship terms, though, for many churches, this Sunday is the last one in the year. December 3rd will be the first Sunday in Advent. We will start preparing for Christmas, taken as the beginning of the Christian story, continuing through the story of Jesus and the Church as we find it in the Bible. The culmination of that story is the ‘reign of Christ’ over everything in heaven and earth. So that’s where we are this Sunday before we start our way around the story once again. That’s why we talk about Jesus (and God) as King. It’s a way of saying that he is in charge of everything in our lives and in the world. Traditionally, this Sunday is known as ‘Christ the King Sunday.’ More recently, it’s also been called ‘Reign of Christ Sunday.’ I suppose that’s to get away from projecting our human ideas of kingship unto what it means for Jesus to be King. After all, a king who serves rather than being served, even to point of dying for others is a very different sort of king indeed.
PrayerAlmighty God, may your glory fill our worship as we proclaim your Son King of kings, and Lord of lords; and accept the homage of your people as we offer our lives in service of your eternal kingdom.
Book of Common Worship, 1993
Worship Sunday 26th November
10.30 a.m. Service led by Trevor Jamison, on the theme’ The Reign of Christ’
Church Meeting follows immediately after the morning service. Papers for the meeting have been made available separately to the “Update”.
6.30 p.m. Memorial Service – a contemplative communion service, led by Trevor Jamison, remembering those associated with Saint Columba’s who have died during the previous twelve months.
Livestreamed Worship from Saint Columba’s
To watch the morning service live, catch up with it later in the week, or view previous services, click here.
Worship Next Week
Sunday 3rd December Advent Sunday
10.30 am. A communion service for Advent Sunday, led by Trevor Jamison
(Note that communion has been moved to the first Sunday this month)
3.00 p.m. Messy Church Christmas Our popular Messy Church for all ages, exploring Christmas through craft, activities and interactive worship, and all followed by Christmas Tea! Come along and bring your friends.
Bible readings for this week Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 God, the shepherd of the flock
Psalm 95:1-7a ‘The LORD is a great God, and a great King’
Ephesians 1:15-23 Christ: ‘far above all rule and authority’
Matthew 25:31-46 A king sits in judgement on the people
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.’ (Matthew 25:32-32) In this passage of scripture, when Jesus talks about himself coming as King and Judge, is he describing the literal detail of how things will be, or is he painting a picture to draw attention to things that are important? I tend to think it is the latter. In life there are those whose care for the vulnerable shows that they know God, even if they are not aware of having met him: ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you?’ (25:37) Then, in life, there are those who claim to know God, but whose actions contradict their claims: ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (25:45) Given that many of us who claim to know God also know that we can fall short where treating others is concerned this is a sobering Bible passage. None of us wants to be a ‘goat’ sent off to ‘eternal punishment.’ (25:46) If Jesus is telling a story about how things could be, not describing the detail of what will be, then we still have hope. God is merciful, including to us sinners. But don’t forget to be good towards others – they are (also) members of God’s family. (25:40)
‘Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless thy chosen pilgrim flock.’ A hymn, the final two verses of which, by James Montgomery (1771-1845,) appear as the communion hymn, ‘Be Known to us in Breaking Bread,’ in ‘Rejoice and Sing’ (441)
giving and Forgetting: Advent meetings begin
The first Advent meetings take place on Monday, November 27th, and Thursday 30th. They will be led by Trevor Jamison and Louise Sanders on the theme, “Forgiving and Forgetting”. Week 1: A time for giving – giving happiness, giving to others, giving thanks.
7.15 p.m. at St Columba’s, North Shields.
Help Needed for Christmas Market Weekend! – Bakers, Stewards and Servers
The church will be open to visitors during the North Shields Christmas Market on Saturday and Sunday, 9th and 10th December. We need volunteers to be welcome stewards in the church. We also need folk to provide baked goods for the refreshments, and others to serve refreshments. Please add you name to the appropriate list in the church hall now or contact Norma to make your offer.
Saturday 25th November – Salvation Army Christmas Fayre
The Salvation Army in Howard Street are having their Christmas fayre on Saturday 25th November, 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. All are welcome to come along and “get into the swing of Christmas”!
HANDS Coffee Morning Raises Money for Ukraine Appeal
A big thank you to those who organised and took part in the recent coffee morning. This raised £580, which has been donated to the Ukraine Appeal.
A reminder that the next issue of ‘The Square’ is a double edition for December/January. Any contributions or advance notices of events for inclusion in this issue should be with Valerie by 28th November, please.
Next Update – Sunday 3rd December
John Drew will edit the next Update. To get your information in the 3rd December edition please have it with him by Tuesday 28th November.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.