This week’s Worship

Sunday 22nd August 2021 12th Sunday after Trinity (4th Sunday)
                              9:15 am       Holy Communion, Croston

9:30 am       Family Worship, Mawdesley
11:00 am       Holy Communion, Bretherton

Wednesday   10:00 am      Holy Communion (Croston)

** Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley **
** cancelled until further notice **

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
This week’s Gospel reminds us that people came to hear Jesus and then walked away disgruntled at what he had to say, it wasn’t popular to condemn adultery, racism, false piety so people often walked away angry.  He was challenging well established attitudes and beliefs so its not surprising that he wasn’t always popular, people were set in their ways.  The same applies to us as each one of us has to be prepared to listen afresh to the words of Jesus and to be prepared to be challenged and give up old habits.  Such spiritual growth is painful and whilst some will be marvellously changed, others will walk away.
Looking back at the Old Testament reading from Joshua it may well have always been the same, Joshua has succeeded Moses and has led the tribes of Israel into the Promise Land.   Joshua stood before the tribes of Israel; reminded them of the wonderful feats of deliverance and miracles God had performed on their way to the Promise Land. Then he asked them to make a choice between the false gods or the God their ancestors served “… who brought us and our ancestors out of the land of Egypt, out of the state of slavery.”
For the Israelites it was crunch time!
The Gospel reading today sets before us another time of choice.
The last of 5 weeks in church we have read Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. Beginning with the sign of the feeding of 5,000 men plus an unknown number of women and children, the whole Chapter has used bread as an extended metaphor to describe what it is that Jesus is offering and the relationship which Jesus wants us to have with him. Now Jesus is challenging his followers to make their minds up.
It becomes clear just how tough the message of Jesus was for some who followed him, who had a real crisis of faith and perhaps we can hardly believe it, but they walked away!
So far following Jesus has been easy and exciting – he has been performing signs and wonders, successfully challenging the authorities, and giving hope that “this is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” (John 6:14)  But now the message of Jesus has become much more threatening, he speaks of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. There is going to be more to following this Jesus than simply wandering around the countryside eating free dinners. Jesus is asking for a completely different level of commitment, flesh and blood.
It should come as no surprise to us that some were disappointed with Jesus and melted away when they discovered that his kingdom was not of this world.  We read that “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”.
It becomes clear that the Gospel is challenging, demanding and asks difficult questions of us all.  Today Jesus is calling for full commitment and we have to consider which side we are on.
St. Paul uses the imagery of a Roman soldier’s armour and weaponry to exhort his readers to be strong in the Lord and ready to fight off all spiritual assaults.  Choosing to answer Christ’s call to discipleship requires us to make some hard decisions, following a faith that demands commitment in every aspect of our lives.  But we don’t do this alone; we walk alongside each other, upheld and encouraged by God’s Spirit breathing through us all.

With love & prayers.

Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile:07960309005, email: revmwoods@gmail.com

Sunday 29th August 2021 13th Sunday after Trinity (5th Sunday)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

9:30 am      Family Worship, Mawdesley
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Bretherton

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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:
John Radford
Rest eternal grant unto him O Lord may light perpetual
shine upon him, may he rest in peace and rise in glory. 

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Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
An Act of Worship from Blackburn Cathedral will be available every Sunday from 9am.  You can view this on the Cathedral YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4GsctW6SLc or on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlackburnCathedral
This week’s Church of England online worship will explore truth and peace, led by the Ven Dr Peter Rouch, Chief Executive of Church Army, our worship will come from the Chapel of the Wilson Carlile Centre.  You can watch the service from 9am Sunday.
https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland

Please do continue to support the Food Bank
You can leave donations in our Churches in Croston & Bretherton on Wed. & Sun. from 10 to 4pm, or on Sunday at the service in Mawdesley.
Despite the feeling that we are beginning to live ‘normally’, many families are even more stressed as:
furlough is coming to an end…
some firms are laying-off staff… or not re-opening…
the ‘extra’ £20 per week on Universal Credit is finishing soon…
utility companies are raising prices…
If you are able, please continue to support this worthy enterprise.

Notice of Croston Graveyard Inspection – August 2021
Will, weather permitting, take place on Wed. 18th or Thurs. 19th August. If you would like to speak to someone, would like to give us your contact details or have any concerns please contact Revd Michael (600548).

Walking Football team
We would like to try and put a couple of church walking football teams together, men and women’s in Croston – just a bit of social fun If you are interested please email Lizmbrown@outlook.com

Croston dates for your diary
We are hopeful that Music in the Woods will happen on Sept. 4th.
By popular demand 909 will be headlining again this year.
Ticket sales will be in church on Sunday August 22nd from 1pm until 4pm.  First come – first served.  Ticket price is £15 per adult accompanied children free.  Cash or cheque at the time please.

We are planning another Harvest supper on October 2nd in the Old School.  Hotpot, dessert, live music and great company.  All for only £10.  Please let Diane or Kathryn know if you would like to join us.

The Christmas tree festival is pencilled in for Nov. 27th / 28th with the Christmas markets being on the following Sunday.

Baptisms
We apologise for the delay in releasing more dates for Baptisms, this week you should be contacted if you have already made an enquiry.
Please email: revmwoods@gmail.com for further details.

Faith reference cards for school applications
Whilst Covid 19 restrictions remain in place across our churches, as they have done since the start of this pandemic we will treat all requests for a faith reference as full attendance.  We will begin to once again monitor attendance from the start of the new term in September. The faith reference cards will be available towards the end of August in Church.


The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray and to give more than either we desire or deserve: pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.                                                                                                                 Amen

First Reading
Choose this day whom you will serve: the Lord who has chosen you or the gods of other people?
Joshua 24.1-2a,14-18
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God.  And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.   Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’  Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight.  He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.’

Second Reading
Be strong in the Lord and avail yourself of the gifts he has given. Take on the whole armour of God and you will stand firm.
Ephesians 6.10-20
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.   Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.   As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.  With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.   Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.   Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

The Gospel
Jesus makes startling claims about himself that are hard to hear, yet there is abundant life for those who are not offended and abide with him.
John 6.56-69
Jesus said to the crowd:  ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.   Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’   He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.   When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’   But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you?   Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?   It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.   But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.   And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’   Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.   So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’   Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.   We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Prayer after Communion
God of all mercy, in this Eucharist you have set aside our sins and given us your healing: grant that we who are made whole in Christ may bring that healing to this broken world, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.         Amen

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