This week’s Worship
Sunday 26th September 2021 18th Sunday after Trinity (4th Sun.)
9:15 am Holy Communion, Croston
9:30 am Family Worship, Mawdesley
11:00 am Holy Communion, Bretherton
Wednesday 10 am Holy Communion Croston
Feast of St. Michael & All Angels
Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley has now restarted
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
It is very easy to become drawn into thinking that our way of doing things is right, we are doing well in how we seek to live out the Christian faith in today’s world. If we are not careful this can lead us to dismiss the work and the journey of other groups of Christians, or even other faith groups, or those of no faith. In this week’s Gospel Jesus addresses this dilemma.
One of Jesus’ disciples, John, acts as spokesperson for the others, approaching Jesus to share their misgivings about an outsider. Earlier, Jesus had commissioned the Twelve to preach repentance and to cast out demons in his name. Now someone unknown to the group is doing the same! John tells Jesus that the disciples “tried to stop him”. Jesus, as always, is so imaginative, measured and generous in his response, suggesting that the stranger is part of the kingdom’s cause, even if he is not a follower.
Jesus then turns the tables on his own disciples and asks them to consider how they treat would-be followers – possibly like the man they have encountered. Someone giving them a drink of water in Jesus’ name, for example, will not “lose the reward”.
Jesus is suggesting that a person of goodwill, even if not an active follower, will be rewarded in some way. But, causing someone to “stumble” (for example, by stopping or rebuking them, as the disciples had tried to do) is such a terrible thing that being thrown, weighed down, into the sea would be an inadequate punishment!
Jesus appears to be telling John that, far from trying to rebuke people who are not his disciples, his followers should instead be searching out those of tentative faith, or those who are displaying signs of the kingdom in what they do, and they should be welcomed.
As one of Jesus’ closest followers, John must have assumed that they were on the right track. So, how could someone who is not of their group justifiably claim to be casting out demons in Jesus’ name?
Jesus presents us with the wide and inclusive teaching with which we ought to be familiar.
When we look beyond the walls of our own faith community we may well notice a great deal of good going on. We see signs of God’s kingdom in action in the lives and deeds of people who are not part of our “gang”, who may not call themselves Christian. Rather than being suspicious of such people, Jesus gently reminds us that the kingdom is capable of breaking in anywhere and that if we look around us we will discover that we are all working to the same sort of end – longing for the peace of the world and the flourishing of all people.
Let us all be alert as we look around us for those who show signs of the Kingdom in what they do and say, let us treat them with love and care and offer them a warm welcome.
“Whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40)
With love & prayers. Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548, email: email@example.com
Sunday 3rd October 2021 Harvest Sunday (1st Sun.)
9:00 am Harvest Family Worship, Bretherton
9:15 am Harvest Festival, Croston
11:00 am Harvest Festival, Bretherton
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Please pray for the family and friends of the recently departed:
Rest eternal grant unto her O Lord may light perpetual
shine upon her, may she 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 reflect on God’s generosity. You Can join St Gabriel’s Church, Greystones, as Bishop Guli delivers the sermon from Chelmsford Cathedral.
You can watch the service from 9am Sunday there will be BSL interpretation in-vision and subtitles throughout.
Wednesday 1st Dec. 7:30 pm.
Confirmation is an important part of a lifetime journey of faith as a follower of Jesus Christ,
where a person confirms the promises that were made when they were baptized, often as young child.
At a confirmation service, you make these promises for yourself before a Bishop. As we prepare you will explore whether you are ready to affirm these promises for yourself and commit your life to following Jesus Christ. We will begin preparation during October.
Lists at the back of each church or email the Rector.
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.
Harvest Festivals 3rd October
Please do not bring perishable harvest gifts to church as these are so difficult to distribute to people in need. Gifts to support the work of the food bank will be greatly appreciated.
Faith reference cards for school applications
If you would like a Faith reference card please email the Rector.
Baptisms – we currently have a waiting list for baptisms and are looking now at dates in December and January, thank you for your patience.
Help for Asylum Seekers/Refugees
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our appeal to support the work of the British Red Cross. Your support will be greatly appreciated by the refugees that are resettling to our area. We will update you on future needs.
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.
Gracious God, you call us to fullness of life: deliver us from unbelief and banish our anxieties with the liberating love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
God hears Moses despairing of the Israelites in the wilderness and sends the Spirit on seventy elders, so Moses’ burden can be shared.
Numbers 11:4-6. 10-16. 24-29
The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.’
Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased.
So Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why have you treated your servant so badly?
Why have I not found favour in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, “Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors”? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, “Give us meat to eat!” I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once – if I have found favour in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.’
So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you. So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.
Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, ‘Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.’
And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, ‘My lord Moses, stop them!’ But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’
Christians are exhorted to praise God when cheerful, pray for one another in adversity, confess their sins and support each other in faith.
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Jesus welcomes the supportive ministry of those outside the community, but warns that followers who cause others to reject Jesus should be removed.
John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
Prayer after Communion
Lord of the harvest, with joy we have offered thanksgiving for your love in creation and have shared in the bread and the wine of the kingdom: by your grace plant within us a reverence for all that you give us and make us generous and wise stewards of the good things we enjoy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen