This week’s Worship

3rd Sunday of Lent – 20th March (3rd Sun.)
                                9:15 am     Holy Communion, Croston
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Bretherton
11:00 am      Holy Communion, Mawdesley
Wednesday              10:00 am      Holy Communion, Croston
Friday                      9:00 am      Morning prayer, Mawdesley

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
The people of Ukraine must be thinking what on earth have they done to deserve this brutal and bloody illegal war that has been inflicted upon them?  As they look around the world and see other nations living peacefully alongside each other they must wonder why God hadn’t blessed them in similar ways,  and why is everything going so wrong for them.  When devastating things like this happen some conclude that they must have displeased God in some way and that they are being punished. This way of thinking so often eats away at any relationship with God. Today’s Gospel reading shows that Jesus faced similar questions and perhaps the way he responds can help us see how we should deal with these issues.  Jesus had been talking of the coming judgement, warning his listeners to ensure they were prepared for it. This talk of judgement encouraged the crowd to ask about a couple of recent tragic events and whether those involved had died as a punishment for things they had done wrong, as was the popular Jewish understanding of such tragedies.  In the first event mentioned, it appears some Galilean Jews were murdered in the Temple by Pilate’s soldiers.  The second event also happened in Jerusalem, where a tower on the city wall collapsed, killing eighteen people. The first event was the result of human cruelty and the second was a random accident, but both, quite naturally caused people to ask the question “Why?”
Jesus chose not to explain why these people suffered but instead he did make one point very clearly: these people were no more sinful than anyone else, so to view these tragedies as direct punishment for sin was clearly wrong.  Jesus then warns the crowd to see such tragedies as a reminder that all life is short and that no one knows how long their own life will last.  He emphasised that all people sin and such events should prompt all who hear of them to examine their own lives and repent, ensuring they are ready to meet their Maker, whenever that might happen.
Jesus makes it clear that when bad things happen, to us or to others, it is not a direct punishment by God for wrongdoing.  On the contrary we are promised that nothing could separate us from God’s love (Romans 8.38).  Also, when things go well for us we need to be careful not to judge others who are struggling and assume God is blessing us more and is better pleased with us.  Jesus warns that all tragedies, whether national ones, or the sufferings of friends and neighbours, should warn us that no matter how cushioned and safe we feel, disaster could strike any one of us at any time, for death is something that faces us all.
Jesus also chose not to answer the question that is always asked about suffering: “Why?”
Instead he focused upon our response to tragedy: will it draw us to repentance and towards God?  We all deserve punishment but, God often holds it back in the hope that we will turn to him.
Let’s not miss the opportunities given to us to turn back to God for we are warned, God’s judgement will not be held back for ever!
So when aweful things happen to good people we should all be reminded, just how short and unpredictable life is and that we should all turn to God while we still have the time to do so.

With love & prayers.                   Michael   (Rector)

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

Next Sunday – Mothering Sunday – 27th March (4th Sun.)

9:15 am             Holy Communion, Croston
9:30 am            Family Worship, Mawdesley
11:00: am            Holy Communion, Bretherton

 Mawdesley Prayer Group, Tues. 29th March 10:45 for 11am start.
Meet at Robin Hood Cottage (Bluestone Lane, opposite Nook Lane) Hope you can come and join us.  Please bring a Bibles and the “signs of life” booklets which we’ll be using as a basis for study during Lent.

Please be Vigilant
Flagstone thefts from churches in the Northwest
Please keep an extra watch over the churches
and report any suspicious activity to the police
immediately, also take a note of number plates.

Daily Lenten devotions
Signs of Life – Follow us online each day during lent as we journey with Jesus through Johns Gospel, booklets are also available in church.

 

Google – #LiveLent 2022: Embracing Justice
Offers a daily Bible reading, a short reflection and a prayer, as well as a practical challenge linked to the week’s theme. An accompanying child’s version is also available to help children and their families explore how we can live well together.

 

 

 

Please do continue your support of the Food Bank

Thank you for your support throughout 2021 but as we all hear in the news financial pressures are increasing and more families are struggle with the basic necessities, your donations are so important and will continue to make a real difference to people’s lives

 

 

Covid Guidance Thankfully the high infection rates are receding but:

  • Do not come to church if you are feeling unwell or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past seven days
  • We are no longer required to wear face masks but please be mindful of those who may be less confident and choose to wear a mask.

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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 weeks Church of England worship on the Third Sunday of Lent is a service of Holy Communion, from churches working with the Centre for Theology and Community in East London and the City.
Director at Centre for Theology and Community, Fr Angus Ritchie, will be leading the service and preaching on ‘Believing in the Cross’.
You can view this from 9am on Sunday at https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland or via
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wFS-UC3Gtk

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Michael & All Angels
Childrens Sunday Club every 1st and 3rd Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea Party Meeting 7 pm Tuesday 22nd March
in the Parish Room behind St. Peters Church, Mawdesley
Next meeting has been brought forward to monitor progress.

 

The Abide Gathering an exciting free event
for 11-17 year olds in Preston

The Abide the Gathering is a space for young people to gather together to explore and grow their faith.  Find out more here:

https://www.bdeducation.org.uk/this-is-abide/

#abidethegathering

 

 

 

A prayer for Ukraine:

Almighty God, seated above all the affairs of humankind
and sovereign over nations and leaders,
hear our prayer for Ukraine at this time of war,
that lives may be spared,
that national boundaries be respected
and that forces of aggression be restrained.
Grant, Lord God, peace in your world in our time.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Also pray for the people of Russia
that they may be freed from this ruthless dictator.

Humanitarian Disaster – ways to support for the people of Ukraine
See our Facebook page and posters in Church for ways to support this locally.  The disasters and emergency committee appeal can be found at: www.dec.org.uk which is an effective way to offer your support.

 

The Croston Scouts cardboard box sleepover on the village green for Ukraine on Saturday 26th March.
They are also collecting donations for Ukrainian Scouts Humanitarian Response, further information can be found at https://donate.scout.org
              ***Please support them if you can****

 

 


The Collect
Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us,
and to seek the perfection we are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord.       Amen

First Reading
God, who is in every way far above mortals, calls the people of Israel to himself, inviting them to revel in his generous goodness.
Isaiah 55.1-9
The LORD says this:
Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.  See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.  See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Second Reading
The Apostle Paul uses the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness as a picture of his Corinthian readers’ Christian pilgrimage.
1 Corinthians 10.1-13
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, and they were struck down in the wilderness.
Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did.  Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.  We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents.  And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.  No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

The Gospel
Jesus uses the stories of two recent incidents, followed by a parable, to call his hearers to true repentance.
Luke 13.1-9
There were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.  Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them – do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’
Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.  So he said to the gardener, “See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?”  He replied, “Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.  If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”’

Prayer after Communion
Merciful Lord, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen

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