This week’s Worship

Sunday 12th September 2021 15th Sunday after Trinity (2nd Sun.)
            9:15 am      Family Worship, Croston

11:00 am      Family Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Mawdesley

Wednesday 10 am   Holy Communion Croston

Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley has now restarted

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
In today’s Gospel Jesus wants to know who people are saying he is, not because he hopes they are thinking he is some sort of celebrity, but because he wants to know if anyone has recognised who he really is. The crowds realise that he is someone important – someone from God – but the best they can do is to assume that he is a reincarnated John the Baptist, or Elijah, or a prophet.  Jesus asks the disciples who they say he is, and Peter makes his famous declaration, “You are the Messiah.”  It feels like a real light bulb moment for Peter, as if he has just realised; as if the words are out before he has even processed them.  Jesus goes on to teach about the death that he must suffer and his resurrection after three days.  When Peter rebukes him, he begins to talk about the consequences of following him – self-denial, losing one’s life by setting out to save it, but saving it by losing it.      It sounds very confusing – and frightening.
How often have we been fooled by people only to finally recognise just what they are like!  Finding out the truth about another person can be unsettling, even when it should perhaps be a pleasant surprise.  This can of course swing both ways, a close friend may do something to hurt us badly, or on the other hand someone we have found to be really difficult does something kind and generous.  The person we thought we knew turns out to be someone different, or at least to have some aspects of their character that we had never seen.
Recognising something about ourselves can be even more unsettling. Perhaps we find we are capable of something we would never have believed, either very positive or very negative.  We may begin to wonder who we really are.
But we can recognise Jesus.  We can know who he really is.
We can say with Peter, “You are the Messiah.” But do we really understand the implications of what we say and what it means for our lives?  We know it has some huge consequences for how we live our lives, but it is more than just a change in behaviour.  That confession changes everything.  It places us and all our relationships into a new context and changes how we see ourselves and others.
When Jesus is sure that the disciples have really grasped it, Jesus goes on to explain what this messiahship means, for himself and for his followers.  It is not an easy path and often counterintuitive.
The Messiah will lose his life?  That doesn’t fit with the common understanding of messiahship, where the Messiah is supposed gloriously to save his people.   It must have been difficult to get past the bit about dying and hear about the resurrection.  “No, the Messiah does not die,” sums up Peter’s reaction.  In the same way it is hard to get past the idea of losing one’s life and hear the strange conclusion that in losing it, one saves it – what does all that mean?
But such a radical change in perspective will allow us to recognise who we really are.  We no longer struggle with our own identity and that of others – although it is easy to return to that place.  Our perspective is so different that only the idea of losing our life can describe the change.  Like Peter, for whom the penny drops as he responds to Jesus’ question, our own confession that Jesus is the Messiah allows the truth about ourselves and God’s kingdom to become, suddenly, crystal clear.  We can turn from the small considerations of our own lives and work for the greatest of all goals, safe in the knowledge of who we really are within God’s kingdom.

With love & prayers.

Michael (Rector)

Tel: 01772 600548, email: revmwoods@gmail.com

Sunday 19th September 2021 16th Sunday after Trinity (3rd Sun.)
            9:15 am      Holy Communion, Croston

11:00 am      Family Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Mawdesley

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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:
Patricia Joyce Johnson, Jean Killingbeck
Rest eternal grant unto them O Lord may light perpetual
shine upon them, may they rest in peace and rise in glory. 

 Jean Killingbeck’s funeral will be at St. Michael & All Angels Church, Croston at 12:30 pm Wednesday 15th Septemeber

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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 pray for those impacted by global warming and other extreme weather events.  Led by Rev Canon Giles Goddard, it focuses on the climate emergency.
You can watch the service from 9am Sunday.
https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland

Who Me? – Could God be calling you to something but you’re just not sure? On Sept 21st @ 7.30pm people in Lancashire have the opportunity to explore God’s call from the comfort of their own home. To book a place email: katherine.phillips@blackburn.anglican.org

 

 

Messy Church is back at Croston Methodist Church at 4 30 pm to 6 pm on Tuesday 14 September and then monthly
Fun , Activities , Songs, Stories and Food!  Ring Rev Sue on 07468518260 for more details and book a place.

 

 

 

Harvest supper on Oct. 2nd (Croston Old School).  Hotpot, dessert, live music and great company.  All for only £10.  Please contact the rector if you would like to join us.

Faith reference cards for school applications
If you would like a Faith reference card please email the Rector.

 

Help for Asylum Seekers/Refugees
The British Red Cross is the UK’s largest provider of services for support of Refugees
& Asylum Seekers.  They are still working hard to support those people who fled from the Syrian Crisis a couple of years ago, some have still not been ‘settled’ and still need support.
Now, the Afghan situation has compounded the need, 84 families are expected to come to our region in the next few weeks.
They will need a supply of school uniforms, especially shoes – for all ages of children.
If you have any items which your children have out-grown please bring them to: St. Michael’s church on a Wed. or Sun. 10-4pm.

Please do continue to support the Food Bank
Despite the feeling that we are beginning to live ‘normally’, many families continue to struggle.
If you are able, please continue to support this worthy enterprise donations can be left at all our churches.


The Collect
Lord God, defend your Church from all false teaching and give to your people knowledge of your truth, that we may enjoy eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
                                                                                                            Amen

First Reading
The Servant of the Lord is a gifted teacher in both word and deed, inspiring others and prepared to learn from God and to suffer in the Lord’s service.

Isaiah 50.4-9a
The servant of the LORD said:
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.  Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.  The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards.
I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint,   and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.  Who will contend with me?  Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?  Let them confront me.
It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;     the moth will eat them up.

Second Reading
Whether formally recognised as teachers or not, as members of the Christian community we should be careful that what we say is consistent with our faith.
James 3.1-12
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.   For all of us make many mistakes.  Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.   If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.
Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!  And the tongue is a fire.  The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell.   For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species,  but no one can tame the tongue – a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?
Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs?
No more can salt water yield fresh.

The Gospel
Jesus teaches the disciples and the crowd difficult lessons about suffering, redemption and discipleship, but he will give them an example to follow.
Mark 8.27-38
 Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’   And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’   Jesus asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’   And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.   But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.   For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.   For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?  Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

Prayer after Communion
Almighty God, you have taught us through your Son that love is the fulfilling of the law: grant that we may love you with our whole heart and our neighbours as ourselves; through Jesus Christ our Lord.             Amen

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